Gout is not only about discomfort. If not addressed, especially when it is ongoing, it can evolve into major health challenges over the years. There are formations called tophi, which essentially are hardened clusters of urate crystals. These can emerge in various areas, including the feet. Even though they might not always be painful, neglecting them can harm your bones, cartilage, and joints. With prolonged gout, individuals often experience regular joint inflammation. This consistent swelling, combined with tophi, can result in permanent joint alterations and rigidity. In extreme situations, surgical intervention might be necessary to rectify or even replace damaged joints. Additionally, gout raises the likelihood of kidney stone formation. This happens because urate crystals can accumulate in the urinary system. Over time, if these stones block your kidneys, it can lead to scarring and damage. There's a belief that this kind of kidney damage, if not treated, can progress to chronic kidney ailments. Moreover, the persistent pain due to chronic gout can be mentally taxing. It can hinder daily activities like walking and working, leading to emotional strain. If you have gout, it is strongly suggested that you make a n appointment with a podiatrist to get treatment for this painful affliction before it takes more of a toll on your body and mind.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
- Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
- Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
- Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
- Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility
- Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
- Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
- Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
- Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
- Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
- Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout
Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.