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What is gout and what causes it?

Gout is the result of an imbalance of uric acid in the body and manifests via a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Small crystals may form, which collect in the joint causing irritation and inflammation, and which can be very painful and severe. Men tend to be affected more than women, and diet and lifestyle choices are to blame.

How do I know I have it?

The main symptom of gout is waking up in the middle of the night with a throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. The toe will also appear red, hot and be extremely painful to touch. The pain lasts for a few hours and usually subsides then doesn’t return for a few months.

How do I prevent it?

You can reduce your chances of having attacks by leading a healthier lifestyle:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat and drink a healthy diet (i.e. avoid too much alcohol or fizzy drinks)
  • Make sure there is plenty of Vitamin C in your diet

What treatment is available?

Gout can be controlled and regulated with anti-inflammatory drugs, which your GP will be able to prescribe. These will alleviate the attack over 24 hours or so. While waiting for your medication to take effect, an immediate measure is to elevate your leg to help reduce swelling, and apply ice or cooling lotions.

Your podiatrist will also be able to help alleviate issues by adapting your existing footwear with orthotics, or padding to relieve pressure, reduce friction, and help redistribute pressure away from the affected parts. Footwear advise will also be given, as this can make a drastic difference. Any secondary problems like ulcers or corns can also be treated.

Are you suffering from toenail or foot problems?

See a specialist at Podiatry Station