Learn more about gout and its symptoms and treatment options.
Gout is a disease caused by an excess of uric acid – either your body is producing too much, or your body is having a problem removing it – that causes painful, hot, and swollen joints. Uric acid is a waste product made by the body that is thought to buildup because of diets high in meat and fish that contain purines and too much alcohol. The joints affected by gout are primarily in the big toe of the foot, and the condition predominantly affects men and individuals who are overweight.
- Other locations where gout may occur are the middle of the foot and the ankle joint
- Many times, gout attacks occur at night
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Gout can occur as an isolated incident or it can be a chronic problem. Symptoms of gout include:
- Red or purplish skin around the affected joint
- Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in the affected area
- Limited movement in the affected joint
- Peeling and itching of the skin while the gout heals
Gout attacks can occur repeatedly, and if left untreated, can harm joints, tendons, and other tissues. Some ways to reduce symptoms are:
- Medications – Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications to lower high uric acid levels.
- Ice – Use ice on the affected area to reduce inflammation.
- Review of overall health – Your doctor will want to review overall health to identify possible causes of high uric acid levels.
- Aspiration – If swelling is affecting a large joint like the knee or ankle, your doctor may draw out fluid to relieve pain and pressure.