This month we recognize as Men’s Health Month. At Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, that gives us a chance to highlight a podiatric condition whose highest risk category is men between the ages of 40 and 60: gout.
Although most patients may be familiar with the telltale symptoms of gout—excruciating pain, tenderness, swelling and heat in the toe joint – what’s causing those symptoms may be more of a mystery. In the simplest terms, gout occurs when there is an excessive amount of uric acid in the body which accumulates in the joint and then crystallizes. Although uric acid is a byproduct of the breakdown of purines, a chemical found naturally in the body and certain foods, some people either produce too much, have difficulty eliminating an excess, or both. Uric acid is affected by cooler temperatures. The big toe, being the farthest place away from the heart, is the most frequent site of gout.
There are several causes of gout. The tendency for this disorder is often inherited. Other factors that increase your risk for developing this disorder include:
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications and vitamins
The Role of Diet
Eating foods that contain high levels of purines, if you are susceptible to gout, can trigger an attack. For this reason, men (and women) who have suffered from gout are often counseled to limit or avoid red meat, organ meats (like liver and kidneys), shellfish, red wine, and beer.
Symptoms of a gout attack can take 3-10 days to go away. If you believe you are experiencing gout, it’s important that you make an appointment at our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office. Our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. Adam Thompson will examine your feet and get a complete medical history. The foot doctor may also order tests to rule out other causes of joint inflammation. Once the source of your pain is confirmed, the right treatment plan will be prescribed.