How Can I Manage My Gout And Improve My Quality Of Life
Gout affects many aspects of daily living, including work and leisure activities. Fortunately, there are many low-cost self-management strategies that are proven to improve the quality of life of people with gout.
For gout in particular:
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods that may trigger a gout flare, including foods high in purines , and limit alcohol intake .
CDCs Arthritis Program recommends five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms. These can help with gout as well.
The Role Of Uric Acid
Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, which are substances naturally found in your body, as well as in protein-rich foods. At normal levels in your blood, uric acid is a powerful antioxidant and does not cause any damage. The body keeps uric acid at a set level by excreting it through the kidneys and in urine.
It is possible to have hyperuricemia and not develop gout. About two-thirds of people with elevated uric acid levels never have gout attacks. It is not known why some people do not react to abnormally high levels of uric acid.
How Do You Treat Gout In Feet
Foot gout treatment aims to reduce the pain associated with the flare up and lower uric acid levels to prevent further attacks by a combination of:
- Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with foot gout
- Colchicine: this can help to reduce further attacks, but frequent side effects often limit its use. If tolerated, your doctor may prescribe a small daily dose to try and prevent further gout attacks in the foot such as podagra
- Corticosteroids: If you cant tolerate NSAIDs or colchicine, your doctor may recommend a short course of oral steroids, or a steroid injection into the affected joint to help relieve pain and inflammation. Long term, high dose use is however not recommended due to side effects such as bone thinning and decreased ability to fight infection
- Supplements: Many people find great relief using supplements to reduce uric acid levels. There are a number of different types available that can help to reduce both the frequency and intensity of flare ups. You should always check with your doctor before taking any supplements. Find out more about gout supplements
- Ice: Ice therapy can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with flare ups see the Ice Treatment section for advice on how to use ice safely and effectively
Also Check: Best Way To Treat Athleteâs Foot
Recommended Reading: Orthopedic Chairs For Back Pain
When Is Surgery Considered For Gout
The question of surgery for gout most commonly comes up when a patient has a large clump of urate crystals , which is causing problems. This may be if the tophus is on the bottom of the foot, and the person has difficulty walking on it, or on the side of the foot making it hard to wear shoes. An especially difficult problem is when the urate crystals inside the tophus break out to the skin surface. This then can allow bacteria a point of entry, which can lead to infection, which could even track back to the bone. Whenever possible, however, we try to avoid surgery to remove tophi. The problem is that the crystals are often extensive, and track back to the bone, so there is not a good healing surface once the tophus is removed. In some rare cases, such as when a tophus is infected or when its location is causing major disability, surgical removal may be considered.
Since it is hard to heal the skin after a tophus is removed, a skin graft may be needed. For this reason, we often try hard to manage the tophus medically. If we give high doses of medication to lower the urate level, such as allopurinol, over time the tophus will gradually reabsorb. In severe cases, we may consider using the intravenous medication pegloticase , since it lowers the urate level the most dramatically, and can lead to the fastest shrinkage of the tophus.
How You Can Manage And Prevent Foot Gout
Regardless of whether you have ever suffered from gout, you should know that managing the condition is not as simple as taking medication during a flare-up. You should talk with your healthcare provider about your lifestyle, diet, and overall health.
You may need to make changes in your lifestyle to prevent recurrence. You should always keep personal records of gout attacks to discuss with your doctor.
Exercising, eating healthy, maintaining an average weight, and avoiding things that increase your uric acid levels are all essential to preventing and managing gout.
Don’t Miss: Pain In Sole Of Foot
What Are The Symptoms Of Gout
An episode of gout is called a gout attack. Gout attacks are very painful and can happen quite suddenly, often overnight. During a gout attack, symptoms in the affected joint may include:
- Tenderness, even to light touch, such as from a bedsheet.
- Warmth, or a feeling like the joint is on fire.
- How long does a gout attack last?
A gout attack can last a week or two. Between gout attacks, you may have no symptoms at all.
Who Should Diagnose And Treat Gout
The disease should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of gout patients. This is important because the signs and symptoms of gout are not specific and can look like signs and symptoms of other inflammatory diseases. Doctors who specialize in gout and other forms of arthritis are called rheumatologists. To find a provider near you, visit the database of rheumatologistsexternal icon on the American College of Rheumatology website. Once a rheumatologist has diagnosed and effectively treated your gout, a primary care provider can usually track your condition and help you manage your gout.
Recommended Reading: St Cloud Foot And Ankle
How Uric Acid Crystals Form
The build-up of uric acid crystals begins with purines, a chemical compound found in many foods.
- When the body metabolizes purines, it produces a substance called uric acid.
- The uric acid enters the bloodstream.
- The kidneys filter the blood and normally filter out excess uric acid. This uric acid is then excreted via urine or stool .10Scott JT, Pollard AC. Uric acid excretion in the relatives of patients with gout. Ann Rheum Dis. 1970 Jul 29:397-400. Review. PubMed PMID: 4916770 PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1031324. DOI: 10.1136/ard.29.4.397
- If the kidneys cannot adequately filter out excess uric acid, or if the body produces too much uric acid, there will be too much uric acid in the bloodstream.
- Too much uric acid in the bloodstream is called hyperuricemia.
- In some people, hyperuricemia leads to the formation of uric acid crystals that collect in joint tissue, leading to painful symptoms.
An inability to adequately process and excrete uric acid accounts for an estimated 90% of gout cases.9Dirken-Heukensfeldt KJ, Teunissen TA, van de Lisdonk H, Lagro-Janssen AL. & quot Clinical features of women with gout arthritis.& quot A systematic review. Clin Rheumatol. 2010 29:575-582. doi: 10.1007/s10067-009-1362-1 Other cases occur because a body produces too much uric acid.
How Can I Self
The methods of managing an acute attack of gout differ from the ongoing methods for managing gout. If youve been diagnosed with gout, youll benefit in the long term from making healthy changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- maintaining a healthy body weight. If you do need to lose weight, make sure your weight loss is gradual as crash diets can increase uric acid levels
- drinking alcohol in moderation and avoiding binge drinking
- drinking plenty of water, and staying hydrated
- avoiding, or eating in moderation, foods that are high in purines. Talk with a dietitian for tips and advice
- exercising regularly aim to complete at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week
- working closely with your GP to prevent further attacks and actively manage your condition.
Read Also: How To Make Your Ankle Stop Hurting
The Role Of Physical Activity In Prevention Of Gout
Along with diet, physical activity can help with weight loss, and gout has been associated with being overweight.7 in patients with well-established gout, especially if X-rays have demonstrated joint damage in the foot, a low-impact exercise program is reasonable. An exercise program combined with diet in gout can reduce risk for attacks.7 If an attack seems to be coming on in the lower extremity, patients are well-advised to try to get off their feet, since impact seems to worsen gout attacks. Clues to an attack of gout coming on include local swelling, heat, redness, and tenderness in a joint, especially in the foot, ankle, or knee. Some patients have fever and chills as the first warning that an attack of gout is coming on.
Recommended Reading: Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms In Adults
Arthritis / Acute Gout Attack
Gout is a form of arthritis, hence it causes pain and discomfort in the joints. A typical gout attack is characterized by the sudden onset of severe pain, swelling, warmth, and redness of a joint. The clinical presentation of acute gouty arthritis is not subtle with very few mimics other than a bacterial infection.
The joint most commonly involved in gout is the first metatarsophalangeal joint , and is called podagra. Any joint may be involved in a gout attack with the most frequent sites being in the feet, ankles, knees, and elbows.
An acute gout attack will generally reach its peak 12-24 hours after onset, and then will slowly begin to resolve even without treatment. Full recovery from a gout attack takes approximately 7-14 days.
An accurate and colorful discription of a gout attack was elegantly written in 1683 by Dr. Thomas Sydenham who was himself a sufferer of gout:
Don’t Miss: St Vincent’s Orthopedic Doctors
How Do We Diagnosis Gout
Gout can lead to restricted mobility as well as damaged and deformed joints if left untreated, can lead to worsened attacks, arthritis, and further complications. Several conditions can cause joint pain and inflammation so patients will undergo a clinical assessment to determine if gout is the underlying cause of their foot pain.
People with gout are often misdiagnosed with pseudogout as the symptoms are very similar. Unlike gout, the flare-ups in pseudogout are usually less severe and are caused by phosphate instead of urate crystals. As a result, the treatment for pseudogout is different than that of gout, making the correct diagnosis extremely important.
Gout is typically diagnosed following sudden joint pain and inflammation following one or multiple acute flare-ups, especially at the base of the large toe, followed by intermittent periods with no symptoms but persistent hyperuricemia.
During your visit, our podiatrist diagnoses your condition through a physical evaluation. Our clinical team will recommend diagnostic imaging and blood tests to examine the synovial fluid around the afflicted joint to see if urate crystallization is present as urate levels in the blood may be normal during an attack.
Signs And Symptoms Of Gout
Any joint can be affected by gout, but it usually affects joints towards the ends of the limbs, such as the toes, ankles, knees and fingers.
Signs and symptoms of gout include:
- severe pain in one or more joints
- the joint feeling hot and very tender
- swelling in and around the affected joint
- red, shiny skin over the affected joint
Symptoms develop rapidly over a few hours and typically last three to 10 days. After this time the pain should pass and the joint should return to normal.
Almost everyone with gout will experience further attacks at some point, usually within a year.
Read more about the complications of gout.
Also Check: Orthopedic Center Of Palm Beach
How Will It Affect Me
Attacks can vary from person to person.Some people only have an attack everyfew years, while othersmayhaveattacksevery few months.
Without medication,attacks tend to happen moreoften,andother joints can become affected. Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
- narrowing of thearteries- whichcan leadto anincreased risk of stroke, heartattacks or other heart problems
- osteoarthritis, which occurs when the urate crystals and hard tophi cause joint damage
- an increased risk of developing kidney disease or worsening of the condition if you already have it
- an increased risk of somecancers, especially prostate cancer
- mental health problems, including depression
- underactive thyroid
- erectile dysfunction.
Mostof the damage and complications caused by gout can be stopped if you take medication to lower your urate levels and have a healthy diet andlifestyle.
Acute Attack Pain Management
Home remedies. Reducing inflammation during an acute gout attack will provide pain relief.
- Ice. Apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Use an ice pack or wrap a towel around the ice. Apply ice for about 20 minutes at a time.
- Elevate. Frequently raise and keep the affected area above the level of the heart.
- Rest. Move the affected area as little as possible while symptoms are present.
- Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. If the gout attack is mild, anti-inflammatory drugs available without a prescription may relieve pain. Because there are serious side effect of using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs even the over-the-counter strength be sure to check with your doctor before taking them.
Prescription medications. Your doctor may recommend a prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as indomethacin.
Colchicine is also given to reduce inflammation during an acute gout attack. This drug has recently been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for treatment of gout. Like all medications, colchicine has side effects that you will need to discuss with your doctor.
Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids for acute gout attacks. These are strong anti-inflammatory medications that can be taken either in pill form, intravenously, or injected into the painful joint. Cortisone may improve the severe inflammation very quickly.
Read Also: Doctors For Back Pain Orthopedic
Risk Factors For Gout
Obesity, excessive weight gain, especially in youth, moderate to heavy alcohol intake, high blood pressure, diabetes, and abnormal kidney function are among the risk factors for developing gout. Certain drugs and diseases can also cause elevated levels of uric acid. Also, there is an increased prevalence of abnormally low thyroid hormone levels in patients with gout.
Treating And Preventing Gout Pain
Gout pain is generally treated in two ways:
- Medications to relieve gout attacks in the short-term
- Preventive medications taken regularly to lower uric acid and stop gout attacks from occurring
While inflammation-fighting drugs are used to relieve pain during gout flares, different medicines are used to lower uric acid levels to prevent future attacks. These include:
Another medication called pegloticase may be recommended for people with chronic gout who have not responded to other uric acid-lowering medication.
While many people with gout can be treated by their primary care physician, if gout is not responding to medication or is progressing with worsening or frequent flares or developing tophi gout deposits, then your primary care physician may refer you to see a rheumatologist who specializes in treating diseases that affect joints, muscles, bones and the immune system.
Taking medication to reduce uric acid levels and reduce the risk of gout progression is important, Dr. FitzGerald stresses. If you have risk factors for bad gout, such as kidney disease, or are experiencing frequent attacks, early treatment is better.
You May Like: Why Does My Foot Hurt
Ingredients In Uricazol Uric Acid Formula
Uricazol is a dietary supplement that contains natural ingredients from trees, plants, and herbs.
|MULBERRY TREE extract has been used for kidney support. Scientific research shows that it may reduce uric acid in the body by inhibiting the enzyme xanthine oxidase and by inhibiting re-absorption of urate in kidneys. It reduces the body’s production of uric acid and enhances the kidneys’ efficiency in expelling uric acid.*|
|NETTLE is an herb that is used as remedy in Europe. Research has shown that nettle contains active anti-inflammatory compounds that help relive minor pain and swelling .*|
|TURMERIC contains curcumin that inhibits the synthesis of substances called prostaglandins in the body that are involved in pain. The mechanism is similar to the one involved in the pain-relieving action of ibuprofen. Curcumin stimulates the adrenal glands to release the body’s own cortisone, a potent reliever of pain and inflammation .*|
|BURDOCK is a plant with large leaves. In Japan and parts of Europe, it is cultivated as a vegetable. It has been traditionally used as a “blood purifier” to clear the bloodstream of toxins. Burdock can be beneficial because it encourages the uric acid elimination via the kidneys.*|
|RUTIN is a bioflavonoid found in apricots, citrus fruits , blueberries, and blackberries. Rutin has anti-inflammatory properties. Together with Quercetin research suggests it may be effective for health.*|
Treating A Gout Attack
Treating an attack of gout doesnt lower your urate levels or stop future attacks. The treatment helps you to manage your symptoms when an attack happens.
Themostcommon drugtreatments for attacks of gout are:
Some people will be better suited to NSAIDS, while for others NSAIDs cannot be used. But your preference is also taken into consideration.Many people with gout quickly learn what works best for them.
In cases where one drug doesnt seem to be working on its own, your doctor might suggest a combination of NSAIDs with either colchicine or steroids.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Attacks of gout are often treatedwith NSAID tablets, which can help with pain andreduce some of your inflammation. Naproxen, diclofenac,and etoricoxibare three NSAIDs you could be given.
If youve been prescribed NSAIDs to treat an attack, you should start taking them as soon as you notice signs of one coming on.Your doctor may let you keep a supply soyou can start taking them at the first signsof an attack.
The earlier you start treatment, the better.
NSAIDs arent suitable for everyone, so talk to your doctor about them first if you have any other conditions. They can also interact with other drugs, so make sure you talk to a doctor before starting on any new medication.
Colchicineisnt apainkiller.Butcan be very effective at reducing theinflammation caused by urate crystals.
You should avoid taking colchicine if you have chronic kidney disease.
Also Check: Orthopedic Shoes For Uneven Legs