Gout is a condition in which uric acid (a product of purine metabolism in the body) is either over-produced or under-secreted. Purines are substances which naturally occur in the body and are also in many foods - such as organ meats, anchovies, asparagus and mushrooms. The uric acid can settle into joints and form crystals which cause a severe degree of pain, swelling and redness. This condition seems to come on suddenly, without any recognizable injury to the foot or ankle. It has been described as feeling like the big toe joint or ankle is on fire and is so painful in some instances that even the weight of a bed sheet is intolerable.
Gout can sometimes run in families, but this isn't always the case. It is more common in men than women.
There is a similar condition to gout, termed 'pseudo gout' which is more common in women than men. The primary difference is the type of crystal that causes the condition. In pseudo gout, the type of crystal is calcium pyrophosphate. For this reason, the true term for pseudogout is CPPD (calcium pyrophosphate disease). This condition is more common in the knees.
Treatment of a gout attack involves decreasing inflammation. Once the acute condition resolves, it is vital to see your primary care doctor to discuss ways to prevent further attacks. Get in touch with us to see if the pain in your joint is from gout!