Gout is a form of arthritis that often affects your big toe, but can affect other joints. In some cases, gout can turn into frequent flare-ups, destroying your joints. Both dietary changes and medical treatments can help you reduce gout symptoms.
Reduce Foods Associated with Gout
Since purine is metabolized into uric acid, reducing purine-containing foods can help. You should consider limiting your red meat and seafood intake. On other days of the week, stick with lean white meats, such as chicken, turkey and some cuts of pork. Some white meats also contains purine, but typically not in the same concentrations as red meat and seafood. Weekly or more often, eat vegetarian meals. Some nuts, beans, and vegetables should also be limited in your diet.
Incorporating more water into your diet can have a positive effect on gout flares. You should limit your intake of some fruit juices, especially acidic types, such as pineapple, orange, grapefruit, and tomato juices. Gout is more common in heavy drinkers. If you drink alcohol regularly or engage in binge drinking, limiting your alcohol intake can reduce your frequency of gout. Beer and hard alcohols are more likely to trigger a gout flare-up. If you must have an occasional drink, choose wine.
Use the Right Footwear
For gout in your toe, talk with your podiatrist to find orthotics to reduce toe pain. When gout is affecting your big toe, you will need cushioned orthotics to help reduce pressure on the ball of your foot and along the outside of your toe. Your podiatrist can help guide you on shoe choices to reduce pain during ordinary activities. For example, rocker bottom shoes can be more comfortable for people with gout or other forms of arthritis in their big toe. These shoes are designed to alleviate some of the pressure off the balls of your feet, where the major joint of the big toe is located.
Speak with a Rheumatologist
Gout is not purely a podiatric concern. If you cannot gain control over gout with dietary changes, consider speaking with a rheumatologist. Without proper control, chronic gout can eventually affect other parts of your body. Once a diagnosis of gout is confirmed through blood work and testing joint fluid, a rheumatologist will likely prescribe medications.
During the acute phase of an attack, anti-inflammatory pain medications, steroids and colchicine are used to help gain control over the attack. Long-term therapy for chronic gout can include xanthine oxidase inhibitors or uricosuric medications. These medications work by reducing the amount of uric acid you produce or increasing the excretion of uric acid from your body. This lessens the amount of urate crystals available to settle in your joints.
Gout can have a significant impact on your daily activities. Proactively gaining control over gout flare-ups can improve your quality of life and reduce the likelihood of disabling effects. For more information, talk to a professional like The Podiatry Center.