Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. Gout is a complex form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint. It causes sudden attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness in any joint but usually in the big toe.
Gout can affect anyone. Men are more likely to get gout, but women become increasingly susceptible to gout after menopause. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable. Fortunately, gout is treatable, and there are ways to reduce the risk that gout will recur.
Gout usually comes on without a cause. But it can be brought on by drinking alcohol or eating seafood and red meat. Taking certain medicines, such as diuretics or aspirin, also can bring on an attack of gout.
Taking your medicines as prescribed and following up with your doctor regularly can help you avoid gout attacks in the future.
If the joint is swollen during an acute attack, put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. Do not apply ice if you are not having an attack as it make increase the amount of gouty crystal formation.
Prop up the sore limb on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
Rest sore joints. Avoid activities that put weight or strain on the joints for a few days. Take short rest breaks from your regular activities during the day.
Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Chronic medications for management of gout include Allopurinol.
Take pain medicines exactly as directed. Some medications to manage acute gout attacks include Colchicine and Indomethacin.
Follow up with us within the first 48 hours of attack as a local site injection may significantly improve acute attacks and improve your recovery.
Eat less seafood, red meat, aged cheese and reduce or cease alcohol consumption.
Losing weight, if you are overweight, may help reduce attacks of gout. But do not go on a "crash diet." Losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time can cause a gout attack.