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Shenandoah Podiatry
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Toll Free: 855-997-2367
Roanoke: 540-904-1458

What Causes Gout?

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“Gout is caused by an increase, or build up, of uric acid in the body. It is usually a result of a decreased excreation of uric acid in our urine. Initially the uric acid is found in the blood, but over time it will defuse throughout the body. This includes the joints. As uric acid increases in concentration in the joints it is more likely to crystallize. These crystals can cause a lot of pain during an acute gout attack.

The question can be asked: Why is gout usually seen in the feet? Uric acid is not water soluble. This means that it will crystallize if given the right conditions. First, in high enough concentrations it can crystallize. Second, as temperature decreases it is more likely to crystallize. Gout can be found in any joint, but I believe it happens more in the feet because of the decreased temperature found in the feet. The feet are the structures in the body that are furthest from the heart, making them the coolest.

Symptoms of an acute gout attack include pain, edema (swelling), and erythema (redness) around the joint involved. It is common to see a patient that was drinking alcohol or eating a steak dinner one evening to wake up the next morning with an acute gout attack. The pain is usually 10 out of 10 and can be so painful it hurts to even let the bed sheets rest on the affected area. An acute gout attack can mimic different arthritic conditions, including septic arthritis. A diagnosis is made definitively through joint aspiration, which is then sent to a pathology lab.”

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