Gout – What Causes it and How to Manage It

Dr Anthony Weinert, a foot and ankle specialist with practice locations in both Warren and Troy, Michigan discusses a very common problem patients suffer with called Gout. Most people describe it as a sharp, unbearable pain to the big toe joint, similar to a severe toothache but in the foot. Approximately six million people in the United States have suffered from gout at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, gout – which is caused by a high uric acid content in the blood stream – is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis in men over 40.

Sufferers experience gout and the pain that comes along with it when the excessive uric acid level in the bloodstream form crystals which cause the joints to become inflamed, leading to pain and swelling in the affected area.

Over time, gout becomes more chronic, the pain becomes more severe, the periods of pain last longer and occur more often.

It’s common for sufferers to treat the pain rather than the cause. As stated above, gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood stream.

Yes, taking pain medication will ease the suffering, but it won’t do much for decreasing the uric acid levels that are causing the problem in the first place.

The goal is to have a uric acid level of 6mg/dl; this level will allow you to keep your gout in control over longer periods of time.

Certain foods can trigger a gout attack so paying attention to what you eat and when an attack happens will help prevent it from happening in the future. These foods include:

  • Certain meats: red meat, turkey and processed meats
  • Organ meats: kidney, liver and sweetbread
  • Shellfish: shrimp, scallops, crab and mussels

Long-term management of gout is the key to keeping it in check. Talk with your podiatrist and discuss lifestyle changes to help keep your uric acid in check – lifestyle changes that include eating healthier, exercising and weight loss. There have even been some claims as to a connection between gout and celiac disease. If you have begun trying to pinpoint the foods that trigger a gout attack and nothing seems to be preventing them, consider talking to your doctor about the connection of wheat, barley and rye to gout. You may find that gluten intolerance could be the problem.

No matter what, remember that each case is different and it is important not to self-diagnose. See your podiatrist to discuss your situation and the two of you will come up with the proper course of treatment.

If you or your loved one is suffering with foot pain or have signs of Gout, you can call Dr Weinert’s office today at 586-751-3338 (Warren) or 248-362-3338 (Troy) to schedule your appointment (often same day). You can also visit his website at www.stopfeetpainfast.com to learn more about foot & ankle health and request a FREE copy of Dr Weinert’s published book “Stop Feet Pain Fast – A User’s Guide to Foot & Ankle Health” which will answer all your questions related to your foot & ankle health.