Gout is a common problem than is extremely painful for those who have it. It is due to uric acids accumulate in the joint and reaches a point that it becomes too much for the joint to cope with. Any joint can be affected with gout, but by far the most common is the big toe joint of the foot. It is not sure why that joint is more commonly affected, but could be because that joint is cooler than other joints as it is so far from the core of the body, or it be because that joint is subjected to more trauma. The uric acid accumulates in the joint when the blood levels are too high. The blood level may be high because some people are just more genetically prone to it, but it is also due to dietary issues as there are some food that are higher in purines that the body converts to uric acid. When the uric acid accumulates in the joint it causes an inflammatory reaction that is quite painful. The classic symptom of gout is a sudden onset of quite severe pain.
The treatment for gout starts with the use of drugs to deal with that initial pain. Once that as settled different drugs can be used to help lower the uric acid levels by getting the kidneys to excrete more so that it does not accumulate in the body. Of equal, if not more, importance to the drugs is lifestyle changes including losing weight and having a diet so that foods such as red meat and shell fish which are high in purines are avoided. A recent episode of the podiatry livestream, PodChatLive had a discussion with Keith Rome who is a well-recognized expert in how gout can affect the foot and how podiatrists have so many different strategies that they can use to treat the affects of gout on the foot. If you are a podiatrist or have gout, it is well worth a listen to.