Purine, a chemical compound, is naturally present in the body and in foods including certain meats and seafood, as well as alcohol. When purine is broken down, uric acid is produced. If the body cannot properly flush uric acid out, it may crystalize in the joints—causing inflammation, pain, stiffness and even deformity in extreme cases. This condition, known as gout, is a form of arthritis which most commonly occurs in the metatarsophalangeal joint connecting the foot with the big toe. Men are more likely to develop gout, as well as people with a family history of gout, or those who are over 50 years old. Other risk factors can include obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney functions, and drug or alcohol abuse. In rare cases, children with certain genetic disorders that cause an excess of uric acid can develop gout. If you are in any of these high-risk groups and are experiencing pain or inflammation in any ankle or foot joint, contact a podiatrist who can examine you and may perform tests to analyze the fluid around the joint to see if uric acid crystals are present.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Encino and Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.