What Causes Gout In Feet?

Gout in feet occurs when the urate crystals aggregate around the joints of the feet, that is, around the toes or the ankles. The crystals have sharp edges and as they accumulate around the joints, the person feels pain and develops swelling, redness, and inflammation. Gout in big toes is quite common, it causes the toe to swell, and the person may find it difficult to walk.

Similarly, when the urate crystals accumulate around the ankle joints, the ankle becomes swollen and the area turns tender and very sensitive. The person might experience discomfort while walking. Their movement may get restricted as a result.

Urate crystals are formed of uric acid, which is produced within the body after the metabolization of purine. Uric acid is the waste that is the product of purine metabolization. The level of uric acid rises in the blood, which causes the atoms of it to bind together and crystallize. These sharp crystals get lodged around the joints and cause pain.

The root cause of gout flare-ups is an increase in the levels of uric acid. To prevent it from rising within the body, one must make several changes in their lifestyle. Diet is the major factor that must be controlled in order to manage the condition well. Besides, there are several other lifestyle factors that must be controlled to prevent gout flares and attacks.

Foods to manage gout

Purines are the chemical substance thatnaturally exists in the body in low amounts. Also, its levels in the body increase when the person consumes foods that are loaded with high quantities of purine. Foods that have a high content of purines are given below:

  1. Alcohol –Alcoholic beverages of different types have different concentrations of purine within them. Switching to the types that have lower concentrations of purines in them can be the best option.
  2. Sweet and sugary foods and drinks – It is better to avoid these kinds of foods that can spike the uric acid levels in the blood. They can easily give rise to gout flares and gout attacks.
  3. Organ meat – Certain types of meats such as liver, brain, and kidneys are not suitable for people with gout. Excessive consumption of these can lead to gout flares. This is why it is necessary to limit the consumption of such meats.
  4. Seafood – Some types of seafood contain higher amounts of purines. It is necessary to reduce the consumption of seafood such as scallops, tuna, crabs, lobsters, codfish, haddock, mussels, herring, trout, mackerel, etc. because their excessive intake can peak the uric acid levels in the body.
  5. Red meat – Red meats include beef, pork, and lamb, which can potentiate the risk of gout attacks. These can be consumed occasionally, that too in moderation, otherwise too much of it can trigger severe gout attacks.

Lifestyle changes to prevent gout attack

The gout flare-up happens because of a surge in uric acid levels within the body. To reduce the frequency of gout flares and attacks, you need to make the following changes to your lifestyle:

  • Regular exercise
  • Cutting alcohol intake
  • Lose weight and remain fit
  • Give up smoking
  • Drink plenty of water

Other factors contributing to gout

  • Genetics – Some people are born with abnormal genes that can keep the uric acid levels always high in their bodies. Their risk of developing gout is quite high.
  • Medications – The side effects of certain types of drugs can also lead to a spike in uric acid levels in the body. Those who use non-prescription medications frequently must be very careful, as the side effects of some medications might increase the risk of gout flares.

How does gout affect the feet?

The gout may appear around the toes and ankles on the feet.When the gout attack occurs, the area may turn red and swollen followed by some pain. The pain gets intense with time. It may pass after a few days. The person may get gout attacks frequently. However, with proper treatment, the pain and swelling can be alleviated. Treatment provides relief and the symptoms begin to fade. 

Gout-related complications

  • Joint damage – The persistent pain and swelling of the joints can lead to permanent damage.
  • Kidney damage – High levels of uric acid can cause the formation of kidney stones.The stones can block the kidney and prevent waste removal.

The lowdown

Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs because of the build-up of uric acid crystals around the joints. Its occurrence on feet can make it difficult for a person to walk. The accumulation of urate crystals may happen around the toes of the feet or on the ankle. It causes intense pain and inflammation. The pain can sometimes become excruciating and persistfor several days. Those who do not get the treatment will continue to experience intense pain and swelling for a couple of weeks or so.

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