Gout often strikes the big toe.
Gout is a painful condition that is the result of uric crystals accumulating around a joint. This results in pain and inflammation. The crystals cluster when you possess high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid typically dissolves in your blood and then passes through your kidneys into your urine. Unfortunately, there are times when your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys are unable to excrete enough uric acid. When you suddenly experience pain in your foot, particularly in your big toe, you may be suffering from gout.
1. Take note that the symptoms of gout generally occur in stages, including the asymptomatic stage, where uric levels are rising in the blood but have yet to produce symptoms. The rise in uric acid levels is a symptom — but unless you’re tested for it you aren’t aware of it, so you remain outwardly asymptomatic at first. The acute stage follows, when there is sudden and acute pain. The joint swells and becomes inflamed. Your joint will feel hot. This is an arthritic condition, but it doesn’t spread from joint to joint.
2. Identify the chronic stage, which consists of persistently painful joints and the presence of large uric acid deposits in the membranes, the bones, tendons, soft tissues and in the cartilage. Sores may develop and excrete white pus. Your joint will be stiff and you won’t be able to move the joint freely. If you are recurrently experiencing these symptoms, particularly in your big toe, make an appointment to see your doctor so he can determine if it is gout.
3. Targeting the big toe, gout generally makes it presence known in the large joint in this toe, but you can also get it in your hands, wrists, knees and ankles. The pain will be worst during the first 12 to 24 hours of the onset. The pain will eventually subside, but residual joint discomfort can last for days or weeks. If you have future attacks, they will be worse and cause even more pain.
4. Cut back on your beer drinking because gout is often associated with too much beer consumption. Lower your meat intake and eat raw vegetables and fruits, as well as seeds, nuts, grains, strawberries and cherries. Avoid alcohol and purine-rich foods, such as liver, gravy, mushrooms, beans, sardines and kidneys. Some people find relief by drinking black cherry juice. Lose weight if you are overweight, and this should help prevent flareups of gout.