Gout is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis, affecting more than eight million Americans. Though there’s no cure, with early intervention and treatment, it’s possible to manage uncomfortable symptoms and help you feel better. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, provide a variety of treatment options for gout. To make an appointment at the office in Gainesville or Lake City, Florida, call the nearest location today.
What is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden attacks of severe joint pain that typically affect the big toe. It occurs when urate crystals accumulate inside of a joint, causing swelling and intense discomfort.
Anyone can experience gout, but there are several factors that increase your risk, including being overweight, eating a diet that contains lots of red meat, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Symptoms of gout include:
- Intense joint pain
- Joint stiffness and lingering discomfort
As gout gets worse, you might also experience difficulty straightening or moving your affected joint.
When should I visit a podiatrist about gout?
If you experience joint pain that occurs suddenly and lasts for hours or even days, make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists. Without early intervention and treatment, gout increases the risk of permanent joint damage that can affect your mobility and quality of life.
How is gout diagnosed?
To diagnose gout, your North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists provider reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms. They physically examine your feet and toes and order a series of tests, including a joint fluid test, a blood test, and X-rays.
A joint fluid test assesses your joint fluid for the presence of uric crystals, while a blood test measures the levels of uric acid in your blood. Joint X-rays can help your provider determine the severity of your gout or rule out other conditions like a fracture or a dislocated joint.
How is gout treated?
Treatment of gout usually includes a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication. North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists might recommend:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Colchicine (a type of prescription anti-inflammatory drug)
- Medications that block uric acid production
- Medications that improve uric acid removal
You might also benefit from regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding foods that are high in purines, like red meat and shellfish.
To learn more about the treatment of gout, make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the nearest office today.