Do you know what arthritis is? If you are like most people, you are probably thinking that this is a condition of stiff, painful joints that older people experience as the result of wear-and-tear on the body. This is certainly true…but only in certain cases. Arthritis is actually a “catch all” term used for over one-hundred specific conditions that lead to inflammation in a joint. One of these arthritic conditions is known as gout, and it is definitely not caused by wear-and-tear over time.
This particular type of arthritis is actually caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood. This acid is a byproduct of food breakdown and is normally expelled during urination. When the kidneys do not properly excrete this byproduct, or too much of it is produced in the first place, it settles into the joints. Over time, urate crystals form in them and can cause irritation to the soft tissue that surrounds them.
Most often, the acid buildup and crystallization happens in the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the big toe. The MTP joint is where the toe connects to the foot and, especially in the case of the big toe, is essential for the final push that happens during your steps. Individuals who develop this disease recognize it through intense pain that happens periodically (gout flares), lingering discomfort, inflammation, redness, and limited range of motion.
Uric acid is produced during the breakdown of many foods, but ones that lead to higher levels of the byproduct are those containing purines. These include seafood, red meat, organ meats, refined carbohydrates, fructose, and alcoholic drinks (especially beer). Limiting or avoiding these is a key component to managing the condition.
Gout flares can be quite painful, but you can find effective treatment for the arthritic condition here at Dallas Podiatry Works. Our doctors and medical staff are skilled and experienced at providing care for a wide array of foot and ankle conditions, including the various forms of arthritis.
Contact us for more information by calling 972.566.7474. We will be glad to answer any questions you might have and help you arrange a visit at either our Dallas or Plano, TX offices. You can also schedule your appointment online today.