Gout is an inflammation of the joints that frequently strikes the big toe joint, and for anyone who has ever suffered from gout, you know that even the pressure of a bed sheet gliding gently over your big toe can be extremely painful. Gout flares can come and go and are usually precipitated by just a momentary change in diet that tips the blood uric acid levels into the danger zone, and the excess acid crystallizes in your joints causing severe pain and swelling.
Some of the risk factors for excess uric acid building up in your blood include:
● Alcoholic beverages, particularly those that are grain-based like beer and whiskey
● High fat and high purine foods such as red meats, deli meat, shrimp, and lobster
● Excess stress
● Certain medications that may contribute to acid build-up
Sometimes several hours before a gout attack occurs, you will feel an itchy, burning or tingling sensation in the area. Other attacks have no warning and happen in the middle of the night after a heavy meal or heavy drinking. Sometimes you won’t know what the cause is.
How to treat a gout flare-up
Minimizing the length of the outbreak and dealing with the pain can be accomplished with the following tips:
● Take off your shoes - Your shoes and socks should be immediately removed to eliminate additional pain from rubbing.
● Rest the foot - Limit your activity, and try not to walk around during a flare-up. Lie down and elevate the joint on a pillow.
● Ice and ibuprofen - Apply ice for 20 minutes, several times a day, and take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
● Avoid alcoholic beverages - Continuing to consume alcohol during a gout attack will only serve to lengthen the time it takes to recover. Drink plenty of healthy fluids.
● Don’t consume high purine foods - Purines in food have been linked to excess uric acid production, so avoid consuming them.
● It will end! - A flare-up of gout will usually subside in a few days so if your big toe pain persists, you may have a condition called hallux rigidus, or a stiff big toe that requires different treatment from your podiatrist.
If you are experiencing pain in your big toe that won’t go away, schedule an appointment at the Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!