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Big Toe Pain May Mean Gout

Gout, a type of arthritis, can cause intense pain that often starts in the big toe. This condition is caused by a build up of needle shaped uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to inflammation. The big toe is where painful gout attacks commonly occur because it is a cooler part of the body, and uric acid is more likely to crystallize there. Gout patients usually experience painful joint flares for a week or so, which then disappear for a period of time. Some patients do not experience their next flare for a year or more. Lifestyle factors such as a diet particularly rich in purine-containing foods in addition to genetics can contribute to gout development. During a gout flare up, the big toe may become red, swollen, and extremely tender. It is essential for those experiencing big toe pain to seek medical attention, as managing gout requires having a well informed plan. If you have pain in your big toe and suspect it may be gout, it is suggested you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can help you find relief from the acute pain associated with this condition.

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact one of our podiatrists from Bruening Foot & Ankle. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Covina and Alta Loma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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