Three Cheers for Cherries: New Studies Show Eating Cherries Reduces Gout Attacks

Eating a balanced diet is important for all aspects of good health. Certain foods have been shown to alleviate or aggravate specific conditions. Gout especially has been linked to specific types of food triggering the condition, but recently, cherries have been shown to have a positive effect in avoiding a gouty attack.

Gout is known as a metabolic arthritis. Like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, this disease affects the joint space located between two or more bones that, in a healthy joint, is filled with synovial fluid. However, gout is different from these other types of arthritis because it is caused by an imbalance in the amount of uric acid in the body. When proteins are degraded, uric acid is the breakdown product that is normally excreted in the urine. If the body makes too much uric acid or does not excrete enough through the kidneys, uric acid molecules become so abundant that they “clump together” to form crystals. These crystals then accumulate in tissues that do not have a large blood supply, including cartilage and the membrane that line the joint space. Some medications may also trigger these crystals to accumulate and a gout attack to occur.

For many individuals who have high levels of uric acid in their body, a gout attack never occurs and treatment for the elevated levels is not necessary. Once a gouty attack does occur though, the affected individual will want to contact their podiatrist immediately. A gouty attack typically causes extreme pain with redness, swelling and warmth of the affected joint. The joint at the base of the big toe (where bunions also develop) is the most common location for gout, however other joints in the foot and the rest of the body may be affected. If you are diagnosed with gout, studies have found that the earlier treatment is begun, the less pain that is experienced and the shorter the attack will last. Your podiatrist will also want to rule out the presence of an infection, allergic reaction or other diseases of the foot, which also may present with some similar symptoms. To prevent future attacks, along with following their medical treatment plan, patients should try to limit their consumption of meats, seafood, and alcohol intake and consider adding cherries or cherry products to their diet. Good nutrition not only helps avoid gout pain, it is also imperative in healing many other conditions of the feet. In extreme cases of recurring gout, surgical options may even be utilized to minimize the joint space, and thus the space for crystals to deposit.

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

If you would like to be seen by our podiatrists in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-859-3338 (FEET) for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia