Questions and Answers about Gout

gout pain

Sudden pain and swelling in your big toe may be a gout attack. Especially for our patients in Geauga, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Portage counties who may not know much about gout, expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey want to walk you through some questions and answers about this condition that quite literally attacks your big toe.

What is gout?

Gout, also called gouty arthritis, is an inflammation of a joint caused by deposits of excess uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product normally filtered out of the body through the kidneys and urine. However, if uric acid levels are too high, they can crystallize and settle in joints, causing inflammation and severe pain.

Who can get gout?

Both men and women can get gout, although it’s somewhat more common in men. Some of the risk factors for getting gout are:

  • obesity
  • high alcohol use, especially beer
  • a diet high in purine-rich foods like seafood, red meat, and animal organs
  • certain beta-blockers, diuretics, and other medications
  • kidney disease.

Is gout preventable?

To prevent gout flare-ups:

  • stay well-hydrated
  • limit alcohol and high-purine foods that can trigger an attack
  • take gout medication if your doctor has prescribed it
  • exercise and manage your weight.

Does gout ever go away?

The answer is “yes and no.” Gout can be acute – that is, it comes on suddenly and then goes away – chronic. Sufferers of chronic gout can expect attacks more than just a couple of times per year, with symptoms lingering between each attack. Acute gout can progress and become chronic.

How do you manage a gout attack?

Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen to reduce swelling and inflammation; drink lots of water; prop your foot up; apply an icepack; stay off your foot as much as possible. If these methods don’t help you, call us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland at (440) 903-1041 to set up an appointment for further treatments at our office in Solon, Ohio.