I am experiencing pain and swelling in my big toe; could it be gout? Flares of gout hit the base of the big toe that is common with gout. Gout symptoms may start with some swelling and tingling sensation. It quickly turns to extremely painful, red, and swollen; the pain is intolerable. Patients should seek gout treatment immediately, but they ignore the pain until they cannot walk or put on shoes. Some even mistakenly think it is a toe injury that will go away.
Gout attacks are sudden without prior warning signs; it happens in the middle of the night. The first episode can last a few days or even weeks. Some patients have frequent flares, while others take even a year before it happens again. Gout is intense pain and inflammation in the joints and soft tissue because of the excess build-up of uric acid crystals.
Gout is an inflammatory arthritis affecting one joint at a time. The condition is also known as hyperuricemia, characterized by too much uric acid present in the body. The body is responsible for uric acid production as waste when it is breaking down purines from foods we eat. Once there is extra uric acid in the body, the acidic crystals build up in joints, tissues, and fluids inside the body. Hyperuricemia does not always cause gout, however, if the condition is without gout symptoms, there is no need to treat it.
Foods that cause gout
Foods trigger an attack by raising uric acid levels. Foods that cause gout are high in purine, a natural substance in foods. People with gout cannot efficiently remove excess uric acid from their bodies, causing accumulation and an attack.
Foods that trigger gout attacks contain moderate to a high number of purines.
- Organ meats include liver, brain, kidneys, and sweetbreads.
- Game meats like veal, pheasant, and venison.
- Seafood such as crab, shrimp, scallops, and roe.
- Fish including tuna, herring, haddock, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages and fructose increase the risk of developing gout or cause gout attacks. These include sugary sodas and fruit juices.
- Added sugars such as honey, high -fructose corn syrup, and agave nectar.
- Yeasts including nutritional yeast, yeast supplements, and brewers' yeast.
- Refined carbs from cakes, white bread, and cookies.
Gout symptoms can be sudden but often happen at night. When the symptoms are worse, they are called flares and when they are less noticeable it is known as remission.
- Joint pain, especially the large joint of your big toe, although it can happen on any joint on the ankles, elbows, fingers, and wrists. The pain is severe in the first 12 hours of happening.
- The discomfort usually happens after the pain subsides. It can last up to a few weeks, but later flares cause prolonged discomfort to the affected joints.
- Redness and inflammation of the affected joints.
- Limited range of motion for the affected joints.
Gout can be treated with medications and self-management strategies. Both methods have three roles to reduce inflammation, pain, and gout attacks. There are conventional treatments and traditional treatments.
Self-management strategies include adjusting your diet to reduce the number of acute gout attacks by lowering the level of uric acid in the blood. Some dietary adjustments include
- Eliminate or reduce alcohol (beer).
- Drink a lot of non-alcoholic drinks, mainly water.
- Eat non-fat or low-fat dairy products.
- Take soy products, low-fat dairy products, and vitamin C to prevent gout attacks.
- The intake of high-fat dairy products or full-fat products does not affect uric acid levels.
- Eating high purine vegetables does not trigger gout attacks.
- Take plant-based proteins like legumes and beans.
- Eat complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain bread.
Classes of gout treatment medications are
- Xanthine oxidase inhibitors reduce uric acid produced by the body.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce inflammation and pain associated with a gout attack.
- Probenecid improves the function of the kidney and its ability to remove uric acid.
At DeNiel Foot and Ankle Center located in Houston, Texas, Ejodamen Shobowale, DPM and her caring staff strive to provide the best comprehensive care for all podiatry and sport medicine related issues. If the foot and ankle issue, is foot-related like toenail fungus or heel pain, or involves foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes, the foot specialist at DeNiel Foot and Ankle Center can get you back on your feet as quickly as possible