A condition that we at Connecticut Foot Care Centers see more frequently in our Hartford and Middlesex County patients at this festive time of the year is gout. This form of arthritis most often affects the joint at the base of the big toe. It strikes men (particularly those between the ages of 40 and 60) more often than women but can occur in either sex at any age.
When an excess amount of uric acid builds up in the body, it can crystallize in a joint, causing the extreme pain that is a telltale symptom of gout. Other signs of this disorder include warmth and redness at the joint along with swelling. The pain may last for 3-4 hours and then subside. However, once you have suffered an attack of gout it is likely to return in the same toe in the future.
Lower Your Risk
There are two reasons why gout is more prevalent during the holiday season. First, your big toe is subject to quite a bit of pressure from normal walking activities. At this time of the year with extra errands, shopping, cooking and socializing, it gets an even greater workout. Another major gout trigger is diet. Certain foods that are often on a holiday menu are known to be high in purines—a substance that when it is broken down in the body produces uric acid. These include:
- Red meat
- Red wine
- Organ meats
- Rich sauces
Limiting or eliminating these foods from your diet can decrease your chances of gout. You should also drink plenty of fluids to help your body eliminate uric acid.
Other factors that increase the likelihood of gout include:
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications and vitamins
If you believe you have had an attack of gout, make an appointment at one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will evaluate your feet and take a medical history. If gout is diagnosed, the podiatrist has several treatment options available such as medication, diet modification and specially-made shoes to relieve pain associated with gout.