Some of our patients present to the office with a self diagnosis of "arthritis" or "old age." Arthritis is a general term for an inflamed joint - it can be due to "wear and tear", inflammation, and even a high uric acid level. Did I lose you? The first two we hear about all the time, but the last - uric acid? What exactly is that?
Uric acid is a byproduct from breaking down the protein we eat each day. Some people make too much and some do not excrete enough of it out. What can happen when either one of these scenarios occurs? Red, hot, swollen, painful joints and even difficulty walking. Usually it is the big toe; however, gout can present in any bone, joint, even your knee, elbow and ear.
Your blood levels may not always be elevated at the beginning of these symptoms. Chronic infections make your threshold before an attack much smaller (meaning less of a spike in your uric acid will result in symptoms). Too many attacks can lead to bone changes and even bone destruction and wounds.
What can trigger an attack? Your genes - yup, we cannot fight them, just need to work with them. Your diet - red meat, alcohol, green leafy vegetables, beans (not always the bad stuff!).
What to do if you believe you are having an attack? Call our office, let our team of experienced podiatrists and surgeons help treat your current symptoms and prevent future attacks or complications.