Gout is a common condition, seen mainly in men, but affects women on occasions too. It belongs to a family of conditions called inflammatory arthropathies which includes Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriatic arthritis (linked to Psoriasis). Most Gout attacks happen to the feet, and primarily the big toes, although other joints are often seen.
Gout presents with a sudden onset, usually during the night, of pain and swelling to the affected joint. Pain is often too bad to even put your shoe on or stand up.
This is caused by acid crystals forming within the affected joint, which is caused by uric acid build up in the blood. For most patients this is caused by reduced excretion by the kidneys rather than by diet. However, dehydration can influence this, which is where alcohol, which dehydrates you, can bring on a gout attack, but does not necessarily CAUSE the Gout attack.
Gout is commonly treated with prescription medication but may also benefit from a joint injection to relieve the symptoms as quickly as possible. Removing triggers in diet and lifestyle may help, as well as changes in footwear. Especially as repeated Gout attacks can leave behind painful arthritic joint damage, footwear can be key.
If you have foot or ankle problems, see the specialist.
Mr Liam Stapleton BSc PGc MCPod HCPC
Sports Medicine Podiatrist