Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that commonly affects the joints in the feet. It is characterized by recurrent “attacks” of severe pain in which the joints become swollen, hot, red and extremely hypersensitive to touch. Gout attacks are usually localized to one joint, but they may occur in multiple joints at once (especially with recurrent attacks). Gout attacks typically make any activity involving the feet virtually impossible.
Unaddressed gout attacks will get worse over time. The recurrent attacks of inflammation can ultimately damage the joints and surrounding tissue. It is therefore very important to seek medical attention as soon as you suspect a gout attack; do not wait for it to reoccur. Treatment by a doctor or foot specialist, such as a chiropodist, can help reduce the duration and frequency of gout attacks, provide pain relief and potentially prevent its recurrence. Intervention by a chiropodist can also help address any underlying contributing factors.
Common signs and symptoms of gout affecting the feet are:
The first attack of gout will typically only affect one joint (usually the MTP joint at the base of the big toe). However, subsequent attacks may affect additional joints in the foot at the same time, i.e. other toe joints and the ankle may all experience the symptoms simultaneously.
Gout attacks typically last for several days, with the first 24 to 36 hours being the most intense. The time in between attacks may vary – it may be weeks, months or even years.
If gout attacks continue to occur, residual effects may be felt in the affected joints between attacks. The inflammation buildup from recurrent gout attacks may also cause joint damage and a variety of joint-related disorders (see osteoarthritis).
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood and tissues. When uric acid levels in the bloodstream get too high, the body reacts by crystallizing the excess uric acid. These uric acid crystals then get deposited in the joints. In response, your body produces inflammation to protect the joints from the uric acid crystals, which causes a flare-up of gouty arthritis (literally meaning gout-related joint inflammation). Uric acid crystals may also deposit themselves in the kidneys, which causes kidney stones.
A combination of the following factors can cause high levels of uric acid, and in turn ultimately lead to gout:
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis; therefore it is treated very similarly to rheumatoid arthritis. If you have gout, the first step is to see your family doctor and a rheumatologist. A medical doctor can do the required testing and determine an appropriate treatment plan. Any medication to treat gout must be prescribed by a medical doctor. Treatment usually entails preventative measures, pain relief, and dealing with any residual joint damage from attacks. This involves a combination of the following:
After beginning treatment with your family doctor or rheumatologist, a foot specialist can provide additional support to help manage the effects of gout attacks. A chiropodist can assess your feet and gait, and address any gout-related joint damage in your feet. This can involve custom orthotics, over-the-counter insoles, or supportive footwear to reduce strain and counteract the arthritic effects of gout.
To book an assessment for your foot pain, use our online booking form below or contact us at 416-769-FEET (3338). Our Toronto foot clinic is open 7 days a week!
For more information about treating arthritic conditions such as gout, see rheumatoid arthritis.
The following risk factors may increase your likelihood of getting gout or gout attacks:
Gout is a complicated disease with many interplaying factors. While some of these factors may not be preventable, there are many that we have some control over, or can at least mitigate. There are also many things gout patients can do to help prevent future attacks. Most of these preventative measures are good for us anyway, so it’s beneficial to follow them even if we’re not at risk for gout.
For patients that have had gout attacks, the following medications may be prescribed on a long-term basis to prevent future attacks:
Since gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, anything that can help prevent arthritis also helps with gout. Click here for more information about inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis.
Our chiropodists can help you find the solutions that work best for you to prevent gout attacks and gout-related joint damage. Book your assessment today through our online booking form, or contact us at 416-769-FEET (3338). Our clinic is open Mondays to Fridays from 9 am to 6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.
Here are some resources to help you manage the effects of gout and inflammatory arthritis:
Our simple to use, online booking process makes it easy to book an appointment with a chiropodist for any of our services. No referral needed!
Emily is the newest addition to the Feet First family. She assists with the clinic’s accounting and finances, as well as all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the clinic running smoothly. In addition to her accounting smarts, she brings sunshine and positivity to everyone at Feet First Clinic.
Part of our administrative support staff, Erica also works behind the scenes writing and editing content for our website and blog. She loves researching and writing educational content to help patients and anyone dealing with pain. When she’s not busy in the clinic, you’ll find her at her local gym, exploring underground music, hiking with friends, or cheering on her favourite sports teams (Go Jays!). She also loves huskies!
Day in and out, Bianca works hard to ensure Feet First Clinic runs smoothly. Customer service is at the top of her list and she treats every customer like family. Bianca has a passion for fitness and is dedicated to helping people take care of their feet and body. There is no problem that she can’t solve and she believes that where there is a will, there’s a way.
If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.