You enjoy a wonderfully festive and rich meal during the holidays and then head home and go to bed. Suddenly, you’re awakened in the middle of the night with intense pain in your big toe. It’s red and swollen, and you can’t even bend it. These are the classic symptoms of gout. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, we want our patients to understand this condition better.

What is Gout?

Gout is an arthritic condition that happens when your body has too much uric acid. When purines—found naturally in your body and certain foods—break down, uric acid is a byproduct. If the uric acid is not excreted through your kidneys and it builds up, sharp crystals will form in one or more joints. The most common site for gout is the joint at the base of the big toe.

Causes and Triggers

Gout often runs in families. It most commonly affects men ages 30-50, but women are also susceptible, especially after menopause. Other factors that increase the risk of gout include:

  • Consuming foods and beverages high in purines, such as scallops and other shellfish, red meat, turkey, organ meats, alcohol, fructose-sweetened beverages, and desserts.
  • Being overweight.
  • Some diseases may make you more likely to get gout. These include diabetes, hypertension, psoriasis, high cholesterol, heart and kidney disease.
  • Taking certain medications.
  • Recent surgery or trauma.

Treatment and Prevention

If you believe you have suffered an attack of gout, it’s important that you make an appointment with the podiatrist promptly. Some medications can be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation, and others can decrease the amount of uric acid in the body. Managing other medical issues, watching what you eat, and drinking plenty of water to help flush excess uric acid out of your system will also help prevent future gout attacks.

At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, our team of doctors treats various conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and dedicated staff, our 16 conveniently located offices provide individualized high-quality care for patients across Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, and Union Counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne, NJ office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.