Gout: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Gout is a form of arthritis that typically results in the inflammation of a single joint. A more severe type of gout may affect multiple joints at once. The most common place to have gout is in the big toe, but it can affect other areas of the body as well, such as the knee, wrist, or elbow.

Below is a closer look at the causes and symptoms of gout, and the possible treatments if you have this type of inflammatory arthritis:

Causes

The primary cause of gout is too much uric acid being in the bloodstream. Uric acid is the byproduct of the process that the body uses to break down purines, which are colorless, crystalline proteins. The accumulation of uric acid crystals being deposited in the joint results in inflammation.

Conditions that can result in gout include undergoing surgery, being dehydrated, and taking certain medications that increase the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream.

Symptoms

Joint pain– The most common symptom of gout is feeling severe joint pain. This is due to the large amount of uric acid crystals being deposited in the affected joint.

Quick flare up– A sudden flare up of inflammation that advances in its level of pain after just a few hours is a sign that you may have gout.

Swelling and redness– A joint affected by gout will be irritated by the excessive amount of uric acid crystals, and will result in swelling and redness.

Fever– A high temperature can be a sign of gout, due to the immune system trying to attack the buildup of uric acid crystals.

Tophi– Small, white blocks that can be seen through the skin, also known as tophi, are a sign of having a severe form of gout.

Treatment

A mild case of gout can typically be treated with lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet. The gout diet is a method of treatment, and it works to control uric acid levels. A more frequent and severe case of gout is usually treated with medications that help lower levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.

If you are suffering from frequent joint pain in your feet, contact the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois today to receive high quality care.