Our Top-Rated TX Podiatrists Explain Why Gout Causes Foot Pain and Why This Condition Develops

If you have severe attacks of joint pain and swelling that seem to come on suddenly, especially in your big toe, your podiatrist may diagnose your foot pain as gout. This condition can develop in any joint, including the wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles, but it usually affects the big toe. If you’ve been diagnosed with gout, you may wonder about the type of treatment you’ll need to ease the symptoms and how to manage this condition. Why gout can cause foot pain

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with gout, the dedicated podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists want you to know that you don’t have to suffer. With early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, gout can be easily controlled.

Understanding Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause tenderness, swelling, redness, and severe pain in your joints. This condition is caused by too much uric acid that builds up in your body and is deposited in your joints. This build up creates needle-shaped crystals that form in and around a joint, leading to painful inflammation and arthritis. Areas of the body that can be impacted by gout include the joints, bursae, membranes surrounding tendons, and kidneys. Anyone of any age can suffer from gout, including children.

Symptoms of Gout

When you suffer a sudden attack of gout, you may wake in the middle of the night feeling as if your big toe has caught fire. Whatever joint is affected will feel swollen, hot, and hurt so much that you want nothing to touch it. The signs and symptoms of gout may include the following:

  • Severe joint pain. You will feel intense pain in whatever joint is affected by the gout attack. This pain will usually last for approximately four to 12 hours after the flare-up or attack starts. Typically, you’ll feel it in your big toe; however, you can experience gout in other joints, including your fingers. Some patients say that the pain starts with a tingling sensation and some swelling but eventually can barely be tolerated.
  • Redness and inflammation. Often, an attack of gout will leave your joint red, swollen, and warm to the touch.
  • Changes to your range of motion. As the attack of gout progresses, you may find you have limited range of motion and can’t move your joints as you normally do.
  • Lingering pain. You may have some joint discomfort that lasts after the initial attack. This could go on for a few days to a few weeks. If you suffer other severe attacks of gout later, they may be longer and affect more joints.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Inability to put weight on your big toe
  • Burning and tingling pain that can prevent you from walking or moving your knees as you usually do
  • Pain that radiates down your arm and restricts elbow movement

What Causes Gout

There are many factors that can cause a person to develop gout and suffer from gout flares. Some food and drinks can increase the uric acid levels in your system and produce a flare. These include the following:

  • Meat. Red meat, organ meat, game meat, and turkey are all foods high in purines. When your body breaks down these foods, your level of uric acid increases.
  • Seafood. There is some seafood you should avoid, including scallops, anchovies, sardines, trout, tuna, and mussels.
  • Drinks. Fruit juices and sodas that are flavored with fruit sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup, can trigger a flare. Additionally, you should limit your intake of alcohol, especially beer. When you drink beer, your kidneys can’t flush out uric acid.   

There are other factors that can cause gout flares, including the following:

  • Medications. Certain high blood pressure diuretics, aspirin, and drugs for patients who’ve received an organ transplant can trigger a gout flare.
  • Body fat. If you have a lot of belly fat, even if you’re not overweight, it may cause you to develop gout. Belly fat increases production of the inflammatory chemicals that trigger gout.

Other Risk Factors for Gout

Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, and anyone can experience it, but certain groups of people are more likely to develop it than others:

  • Men are three times more likely than women to develop gout. Women who do experience gout typically do so after menopause.
  • Older people are more likely than younger people to have gout. In younger people, it is generally less severe than for older people.
  • A family history of gout increases the risk of developing it.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Some cancers.
  • Illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure. 

How Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Can Help You Manage Your Gout

There isn’t a cure for gout, but it can be treated by managing symptoms to reduce flares. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists in Central Texas, our award-winning podiatrists recommend a combination of treatment options, including the following:

  • Lifestyle changes. Reducing the intake of alcohol and triggering foods may prevent symptoms. Drinking more water can improve kidney function. Applying ice to impacted joints can relieve pain and swelling.
  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications that can lower uric acid levels and treat pain and inflammation. Patients should be sure to tell their doctors if they have stomach ulcers or kidney problems, which may limit which medications they can take for gout.
Craig Thomajan
Connect with me
Austin Podiatrist