No one enjoys sharp pains that come without warning, especially if they wake you up in the middle of the night. Like a Ninja fighter that operates swiftly and silently in the dark, gout can sneak up on you with pain and tenderness so intense that even light pressure from your bed linens can hurt your feet. The debilitating pain warns you of a problem that can result in damage if left unchecked.
What Causes This Painful Attack?
Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. As your body breaks down particular proteins called purines, it produces the acid and filters it out of your blood through the kidneys. Sometimes, however, the body is unable to do so efficiently and the levels build up. The acid then forms tiny, pointed urate crystals that collect in your joints—particularly in your feet—and cause intense pain as your bones try to bend and grind over them. The first joint in your big toe is area most commonly affected by this disease, though it can occur in other places as well.
When an attack happens, your big toe becomes irritated, red, and tender to the touch, sometimes causing excruciating discomfort. The sensations tend to be at their worst within the first 24 hours of appearing, but as they decrease they can linger for a couple of weeks. If left completely untreated, over time this arthritis can cause damage to your joint structures and develop in other places as well.
When you experience this sudden pain, contact the experts at Absolute Foot Care Specialists to have it taken care of right away. Dr. Noah Levine will examine your foot to determine if gout is the exact cause, and then can work with you to eliminate the discomfort. We may suggest direct injections of corticosteroids to help reduce the immediate pain. We may recommend resting the joint and using anti-inflammatory pain killers to help relieve some discomfort—but aspirin can actually raise levels of uric acid in the blood rather than decrease it, so do not use it to self-medicate. Once the attack has been resolved, the physicians may recommend prescription medications to help moderate the uric acid in your blood.
They may also suggest you adjust your lifestyle so these episodes are less likely to occur. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight encourages good circulation and internal organ functions. Eating well and drinking plenty of water limits the purines being broken down and dilutes the uric acid in the blood. Foods in particular to avoid include red meat, seafood, high-fat dairy products, and alcohol. Cherries, whole-grain breads, and items that are high in vitamin C, on the other hand, are beneficial for those prone to incidents of the disease.
If you or those you care about have experienced joint pain from gout, don’t ignore it when the pain decreases after a little while. Untreated, it can reoccur, damaging the affected structures, and even build up in other places as well. Instead, contact the experts at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas for an appointment or more information by visiting the contact page online or by calling (702) 839-2010.