Gout occurs when there is a build up of uric acid in the body, which causes the uric acid to crystallize and deposit in your joints. The base of the big toe is the most common place for gout to develop.
Gout is actually a form of arthritis and causes the affected joints to become painful and inflamed.
If uric acid is produced too quickly for your body to get rid of it, build up can occur, resulting in gout.
Foods that are rich in purines are associated with the development of gout. These foods include liver, steak, kidney and seafood.
Gout can also be hereditary, so if you have family members with gout, you’re at a higher risk of developing it yourself.
Other common causes of foot gout include:
- Drinking an excess amount of alcohol
- Medications (ex. aspirin)
- Infection in the joint
- Injury to the joint
Signs and symptoms will come and go with gout attacks (also known as flare ups). Attacks of gout will grow longer and occur more often if the condition is left untreated.
Signs and symptoms of foot gout include:
- Redness & heat
- Pain & inflammation
- Stiffness of the joint
- Feeling of discomfort that lasts for several days after an attack
Changes to Diet – Cutting out foods that are high in purines can help to relieve your symptoms and prevent further gout attacks. Cutting out alcohol will further relieve symptoms.
Exercise – Since obesity can contribute to the development of gout, exercising is a great way to lose weight and decrease your risk of gout attacks.
RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation will provide temporary relief of your symptoms.
Painkillers – NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
Injections – Cortisone can be injected into the affected joint to control pain and inflammation. Injections should only be considered if conservative treatments have not been helpful.
Surgery – Surgical removal of uric acid crystals should be a last resort and is only necessary in severe cases of gout.