“I Have a Red, Hot, Swollen and Painful Joint”
Many patients experience an extremely painful joint in their foot or ankle. A common cause for this terrible pain is gout. Typically patients describe the pain as a sudden onset, intense and often so painful they cannot wear socks or allow their bedsheets to touch their toe. They notice an increase in warmth to the joint area with redness and swelling.
Most Common Causes of Gout
Gout is caused by deposits of crystallized uric acid in the specific joint. Uric acid is present in the blood and eliminated in the urine, but in people who have gout, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in the joints. Some people develop gout because their kidneys have difficulty eliminating normal amounts of uric acid, while others produce too much uric acid. Gout occurs most commonly in the big toe but can attack any joint in the body. In diagnosing gout, a thorough history is the most diagnostic tool. The examination will often include lab and blood testing as well as x-rays. Other inflammatory conditions can present similar to gout. Your physician may take a sample of fluid from the joint to send for further review.
Gout Treatments and Foot Pain Relief
Treatment for gout can include steroid medication, either injected or an oral pill. Anti-inflammatories are also a commonly used medication. There are specific gout medications to help eliminate or control your uric acid content, and this is typically monitored by your family doctor. Your podiatrist will work hand-in-hand with your family doctor to determine the proper treatment options for your type of gout.