Gout is recognized as one of the most painful and debilitating acute disease processes of the foot and ankle. An accumulation of crystallized uric acid occurs in the joint and leads to intense swelling, pain and redness. The great toe joint is most commonly affected and acute gout attacks often wake patients from their sleep. Patients often remark they can not even tolerate their bed sheets laying across their toe due to severe pain.
Two stages of treatment are required in order to help manage this disorder. First, recognition of the symptoms and quick evaluation by your podiatrist is essential. After a thorough physical and radiographic examination, your podiatrist will typically order a simple blood test to evaluate the uric acid content of your blood. Prescription medication and possibly injection therapy will be suggested to reduce acute pain and swelling associated with the attack. Second, follow-up care with your podiatrist and primary care doctor are essential to prevent the damaging long-term effects of this disease. Diet modification and maintaining a food journal will help you and your doctors determine which foods trigger the attacks. Medications to control uric acid production are available. They help to prevent the long-term damaging effects of the disease.