Common symptoms of gout in feet

Do you have sudden and unexplained foot pain? Are you experiencing swelling in the foot, particularly in the big toe joint? These may be signs of gout, a common condition that causes intense pain and inflammation. Gout can affect any part of the foot, including the big toe, and can be a nuisance to live with. If you’re feeling any type of foot pain, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Read on to learn more about the common signs of gout in feet and how it can be treated. 

What is Gout and What are its Symptoms?

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden and intense pain, as well as swelling, especially in the big toe joint. However, it can also occur in other parts of the foot, such as the ankle or instep. The condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint, which leads to inflammation and discomfort. 

While gout is typically a chronic condition that can affect anyone, certain risk factors increase a person's chances of developing it, such as a family history of gout, being overweight, and having a diet high in purines. While there are many gout remedies available, it's crucial to see your local Roanoke podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Symptoms of gout typically begin suddenly and often occur at night. The affected area may feel warm, or like it's on fire, tender, and look red or purple. The smallest touch can hurt the affected area. Additionally, a person with gout may experience difficulty moving the joint due to pain. If left untreated, gout attacks can become more frequent and lead to long-term joint damage. 

Note: Sometimes, gouts are mistaken for bunions, they are not the same, and very different forms of treatments are suggested. Read more about bunions here

What Causes Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that often presents with sudden onset of pain and swelling on the foot. But what causes it? The answer lies in the accumulation of urate crystals in the joint, which causes inflammation and intense pain during a gout attack. High levels of uric acid in the blood can lead to the formation of these crystals, and purines found in certain foods and drinks can promote higher levels of uric acid production. 

Additionally, obesity, high blood pressure and/or diabetes, kidney problems, and a family history of gout can increase one's chances of developing the condition. Red meat, offal, and seafood are also foods that can contribute to a build-up of uric acid and the formation of gout. 

Understanding the underlying causes of gout can help individuals take steps to manage their condition and prevent future gout attacks.

What Foods are High in Purines? 

Gout is caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joints, leading to sudden bouts of pain and swelling. But did you know that your diet can also be a factor in developing gout? In fact, certain foods that are high in purines can trigger a gout attack. Here are some examples of foods that are high in purines:

  • Sugar: Sweet drinks, honey, and some table sugar are half fructose which breaks down into uric acid. When any food or drink that has higher sugar content is consumed, this will trigger gout.
  • High fructose corn syrup: This is a special kind of sugar made from fruit. Keep an eye out for packaged food with high fructose corn syrup, which you might not expect to find there.
  • Yeast and yeast extract: These are found in certain foods, including bread and beer, and are high in purines.
  • Alcohol: Despite the fact that not every alcoholic drink contains purines, alcohol prevents your kidneys from eliminating uric acid, which accumulates in your body.
  • Liver, tripe sweetbreads, kidneys, and brains are examples of organ meats. If you have gout, you should avoid these meats because they are high in purines.
  • Certain seafood: Salmon, shrimp, trout, tuna, and scallops contain the highest amount of purines, out of the many other seafood available.
  • Game meats: A number of conditions including goose, veal, and venison make gout one of the wealthiest people's afflictions during medieval times, it was also called "king's disease".
  • Red meats: High amounts of purines are found in beef, lamb, pork, and bacon.
  • Turkey: While turkey is definitely a leaner option compared to game or red meats, it's still high in purines. Be especially careful when it comes to processed deli turkey.
  • Gravy and meat sauces: These are high in purines, especially if they are made with organ meats.

It's important to note that while these foods are high in purines, they don't necessarily cause gout in everyone who consumes them. However, if you have a history of gout or are at risk of developing it, it's best to avoid or limit your intake of these foods. By making some dietary changes, you may be able to reduce your risk of a gout attack and enjoy a pain-free life.

How do I Treat Gout?

The first step to treating gout is to address the symptoms and reduce the inflammation. While ice and heat may work for some injuries, gout is not one of them. In fact, applying ice or heat can actually make the symptoms worse. 

Instead, your local Roanoke podiatrist may prescribe medication to manage the pain and reduce inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are common medications prescribed for gout. 

Your podiatrist may also recommend changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as avoiding foods high in purines, limiting alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy weight. In some cases, your podiatrist may refer you to a rheumatologist, a specialist in joint and autoimmune diseases, for further evaluation and treatment. 

In addition to medical treatments prescribed by your podiatrist, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding high-purine foods, can also help manage symptoms. There are also several natural gout remedies, such as cherry juice, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric, that may help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, it's essential to talk to a healthcare provider before trying any new remedies, as they may interact with other medications or have unwanted side effects.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of gout – seek medical attention as soon as possible to get relief from the pain and reduce the risk of complications.

We can sometimes relieve the intense pain of gout before you even walk out of our office.

Plan Your Roanoke Podiatry Visit Today

Turning grimaces into smiles is what we enjoy most so make sure to book an appointment today - same-day appointments are available! 

Dr. Jennifer Keller
Roanoke, VA Foot and Ankle Podiatrist
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