Around 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout — a painful type of arthritis that often affects the joint of your big toe. If you’re concerned about gout, contact board-certified podiatrists Lee K. Gold, DPM, and Ignazio D. Perna, DPM, in Brighton, Livonia, Sterling Heights, Trenton, Taylor, and Troy, Michigan. The doctors offer expert diagnosis and treatment for gout to relieve your pain and restore your mobility and quality of life. Call or make an appointment online today.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that develops when high levels of uric acid in your blood deposit needle-like crystals in your joints. Dr. Gold and Dr. Perna usually diagnose gout in the joint of the big toe, although it can develop in any joint of your body.
Gout is typically a progressive disease that develops in stages. The first stage of gout is asymptomatic hyperuricemia, when elevated levels of uric acid in your blood start to leave deposits in your joint.
The next stage is acute gout, which is also called a gout attack. Usually, a gout attack is triggered by your behaviors. Perhaps you had a rich meal or indulged in a night of drinking, and the extra purines in the food or alcohol lead to a sudden, large deposit of crystals, triggering a painful attack.
After the first gout attack, most patients experience interval gout. You have periods of remission between gout attacks. During your periods of remission, you can introduce lifestyle changes and treatments to reduce your risk of frequent attacks or chronic gout.
However, if you don’t do anything to treat your condition and your uric acid levels remain elevated for years, you may develop chronic gout, characterized by frequent flare-ups and joint damage.
Gout is painful. You’ll have intense pain in your big toe that will affect your range of motion and the way you walk, which could lead to additional pain throughout your feet, ankles, and legs. Your big toe joint may also become red and swollen, and you may find it uncomfortable even to wear shoes.
If you’re concerned about gout, Dr. Gold and Dr. Perna provide comprehensive exams and testing to confirm your diagnosis. They ask questions about your symptoms, overall health, and lifestyle while examining your foot for signs of swelling.
If necessary, they may order an X-ray to gather more detail about your joint. Your doctor may also order blood and joint fluid tests to check for elevated levels of uric acid in your blood.
Treatment for gout is two-pronged. First, your podiatrist offers treatment to relieve your attack, including anti-inflammatory drugs and other pain relievers such as colchicine. When your symptoms subside, your doctor will also recommend lifestyle modifications and medications to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood, reducing your risk of future attacks.
Call Dr. Gold or Dr. Perna, or schedule a consultation online for expert diagnosis and treatment for gout.