What is Gout?

Gout is a condition that affects the joints in the feet and ankles; normally characterized by the swelling of the big toe. This condition sets in as the patient sleeps at night, causing them to wake with great pain in the foot. Although everyone is susceptible to gout, women who have already gone through menopause and men have a higher risk. You can reduce your risk of this condition by a several different ways. But if you do contract gout it is treatable. Gout occurs when urate crystals form around one or more joints. This causes the joint to inflame, triggers intense pain in the affected area. These crystal form when the levels of uric acid are too high in your blood stream. Your body produces this acid naturally, but certain foods cause the body to secrete more uric acid, a few examples are organ meats, asparagus, mushrooms and anchovies. Your kidneys naturally excrete uric acid but sometimes there is too much for the kidneys to break down. When there is an excess of uric acid it can build up and form sharp gout crystals in the joints and the areas surrounding joints, which causes pain and inflammation.

Picture of Gout

colorado foot institute gout

Gout Symptoms

Gout symptoms often present as an attack in the middle of the night with sudden and acute symptoms. Gout arthritis causes the patient intense joint pain often affecting the joints in the feet especially the big toe. The pain of untreated gout typically lasts one to two weeks, then subsides. Another symptom of gout is inflammation and redness of the affected joint.

Gout Causes

What causes gout? The higher the levels of uric acid in the body the higher the risk. Drinking alcohol daily, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even certain medicines can increase your chances of contracting gout. Although it is not a hereditary disease, if there has been a history of gout in your family you are more susceptible to it.

Consult a doctor

Gout can lead to other complications as well as cause damage to the affected joint if not treated properly. Just because the pain will eventually stop does not mean the problems are gone, and you can have a re-occurrence of gout. If you have a fever and the affected joint is inflamed and hot to the touch you may have an infection, and you should seek medical attention immediately. Other complications can include the, the formation of nodules under the skin (referred to as tophi) and in some cases kidney stones from the high levels of uric acid. Medications can help reduce a patient’s risk of forming kidney stones. Lifestyle and diet are critical to overcoming this condition and you should consult with Dr. Mechanik for a list of foods to avoid for gout.

Gout Treatment

There are several medications used to treat gout. The decision on which one is best for each patient is based on preferences and current health issues. Steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs are often used in the treatment of gout. If you experience gout attacks more than a few times, there are medications which may reduce your risk of gout in the future. This gout medicine can either stop your body from forming uric acid or improves the rate at which your body removes uric acid. A healthy diet for gout including less red meats, more complex carbohydrates, low fat dairy products. The exclusion of alcohol can reduce the risk of gout as well. If you chose to diet consult a doctor prior to starting one to ensure healthy weight loss and to help avoid rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss can actually increase the amount of uric acid in your body briefly. Drinking higher levels of water may help to dilute the uric acid in your body and help the kidneys flush it out of your system. Dr Mechanik will be able to give you a full breakdown of what foods to avoid with gout, as most gout cures will begin with modifying your diet.

Let Us Help You

As Director of the Colorado Foot Institute, Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions.  He and his family are natives of the Denver area.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate Residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery and a twenty-four month Fellowship surgical training program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.  With his expertise in foot care, Dr. Mechanik can help improve joint  health and  stiffness you may experience.  You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 303-333-3383.