Gout is a painful build up of urate crystals in the joints that can afflict men and women from all walks of life. At DuPage Foot & Ankle, LLC, with three offices in Oak Brook, Wheaton, and Hinsdale, Illinois, expert podiatrist Dr. Donald Nichols provides a range of options for treating gout, including the most effective medications. Dr. Nichols knows that if left untreated, gout can lead to joint damage. With the appropriate podiatric care, your gout can be properly managed and future attacks can be prevented. Call or use online scheduling to book your appointment today.
Gout is a form of arthritis that involves urate crystals accumulating in your joints and causing inflammation. It’s typically characterized by sudden and severe pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the bottom of the big toe.
An attack of gout usually has a rapid onset that can wake you at night, and the symptoms can come and go. The most common symptoms are intense joint pain, inflammation and redness, and limited mobility.
Gout that’s left untreated can lead to joint damage. If you have a fever and your joint is hot and inflamed, this could indicate an infection.
The inflamed and swollen joints of gout occur when urate crystals accumulate. Urate crystals can develop if you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid naturally to break down purines, a chemical compound that can be found in your body and in certain foods and drinks, such as organ meats and some seafood and vegetables.
Uric acid typically dissolves in your blood and goes through your kidneys into your urine. If your body produces too much uric acid, or if your kidneys excrete too little uric acid, it can build up in your bloodstream and develop into sharp, needle-like crystals that irritate and inflame your joints and tissues.
Factors that contribute to higher uric acid production are excess alcohol consumption and drinks sweetened with fructose, a fruit sugar.
Obesity can contribute to higher levels of uric acid as well, as can certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart and kidney disease. Some medications, such as thiazide diuretics, can also increase uric acid levels.
In some cases, urate crystals collect in the urinary tract and cause kidney stones.
Once Dr. Nichols diagnoses gout using a variety of tests such as a blood test and X-ray imaging, treatment usually involves medications to treat acute attacks and prevent future attacks.
Gout treatments include:
It’s also helpful to drink plenty of fluids, limit or avoid alcohol, exercise frequently, and try to maintain a healthy body weight. Dr. Nichols monitors your condition with regular blood work.
To learn more about gout treatment options at DuPage Foot & Ankle, call or schedule an appointment online today.