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Gout: Risk Factors, Symptoms, And Treatment

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Gout is a type of arthritis that is more common in men than women. People who have gout also have high levels of uric acid in their blood. When uric acid levels get high, crystals form around the joints. The great toe is often affected, however, gout can affect any joint in the body including the hips, hands, elbows, and knees. Here are the risk factors, symptoms, and treatments for gout that your podiatrist may recommend.

Risk Factors

Gout is more likely to occur in those who consume diets rich in seafood, meat, and alcohol, especially beer. Another risk factor in the development of gout is obesity. People who are overweight produce higher levels of uric acid than those people whose weight is within normal limits.

When high levels of uric acid are produced as a result of obesity or otherwise, your kidneys are less effective in ridding it from your body, and therefore it develops into crystals. Poorly managed high blood pressure, renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes are medical conditions that may also predispose you to gout.

In addition, diuretic medication used in the treatment of high blood pressure is another risk factor for gout. Aspirin and anti-rejection drugs used to prevent organ rejection after a transplant may also raise the risk of developing gout. Furthermore, if someone in your family has a history of gout, you may be more likely to develop it. 


The symptoms of gout are not subtle. It typically causes intense pain in the joints, typically the joints of your big toes. After the acute phase of pain subsides, you may have lingering dull pain or discomfort, but not excruciating pain. This soreness may last for weeks, and in addition to pain, you may also develop joint inflammation, redness, and warmth over the affected area.

Your range of motion may also decrease which means that you may have problems freely moving your joints. If gout has affected your toes, you may be unable to wiggle or bend them. If you can't bend your toes, your foot doctor may take x-rays to evaluate the joints. 


In addition to weight loss and avoiding trigger foods, treatment for gout usually involves medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. If non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs fail to improve your symptoms, your doctor will recommend prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.

Another medication used to treat gout is colchicine, which effectively relieves pain, however, it can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, and diarrhea. Your foot doctor may also recommend corticosteroid medications such as prednisone.

If you develop joint pain in your big toes, make an appointment with your foot doctor to rule out gout or other types of arthritis.