Holiday parties filled with colorful drinks and rich meals are an integral part of this time of year for many people. However, all of this drinking and feasting can increase your risk of a painful attack of the arthritic condition that tends to strike in the foot known as gout.
Gout is a disease of the metabolism or breakdown of purines. Purines are nucleotides that are essential to the survival of all the cells in our bodies because they are vital building blocks of DNA. While we naturally make proteins, they are also found in many foods. When purines are broken down by the body, uric acid is created. Abnormally high levels of uric acid in the body, or hyperuricemia, precede the development of gout.
When the excess uric acid causes crystals to form in the joint, the joint will become inflamed and often extremely painful. Gout more commonly affects men, but its prevalence increases in women after menopause. The most commonly affected joint is at the base of the big toe, or hallux called the metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ). Other than the MPJ of the hallux, gout also occurs in the ankle, wrist and knee. The affected joint will most often become red, hot and so painful that even the weight of a bed sheet will feel unbearable. A bump, or mass filled with the urate crystals is also often seen at the joint affected.
It is important to rule out a paronychia which is an infection of an ingrown toenail, a painful fracture, and other types of arthritis of the foot before being able to offer relief from gout. With proper diagnosis, gout can be managed and the pain eliminated with various medications. Lifestyle changes can also be helpful in gout management and prevention. Excessive alcohol consumption and a diet rich in meat and seafood are associated with a greater risk of gout. So while it may be difficult to resist this holiday season, you will certainly regret not limiting your intake of these items if you are unfortunate enough to develop painful gout later on!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.