Gout is a sudden onset of extreme pain, swelling, and inflammation in a single joint. It usually affects the big toe first but can affect other joints as well. Gout is a form of acute arthritis caused by an accumulation of uric acid (the substance which causes gout) in the joints and tendons. Uric acid is formed by the breakdown of proteins in the body. It is usually filtered out of the body by the kidneys, but when there’s too much of the acid in the bloodstream, it begins to accumulate in the joints. The Uric acid crystals can cause intense joint pain without warning and the big toe is most often affected. Let’s see what causes pain in the big toe as we continue reading.
Other joints including your knees, ankles, elbows, and fingers, can also be affected. Swelling, inflammation, chills, and fever can also occur. Men are more often affected by the condition than women.
The first attack: The big toe becomes swollen, inflamed, and very painful. The first attack may follow an operation, infection, or minor irritation such as wearing tight fitted shoes or for no apparent cause at all. You may have a headache or fever or cannot walk because of the pain. Some people complain of not being able to tolerate bed linens on their foot because of the pain. Without treatment, this usually lasts a few days or even weeks. The attacks may last longer if the disease progresses.
You will have to protect the affected joint throughout the attack and for 24 hours after the attack subsides because walking too soon can cause another attack.
Risk factors for gout: Gout can be triggered by drinking large amounts of alcohol and eating too many rich foods. People who eat a lot of shellfish and organ meats have a high risk of gout. Some people produce high amounts of uric acid or their bodies cannot get rid of it properly. People who are overweight and those who are prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, or drinks heavily are likely to have gout.
If the joint in one of your big toes are red, swollen, and feels warm when you touch it, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering a gout attack. Get a diagnosis because many other disorders can mimic the symptoms of gout. This way you will be sure that what you are suffering from is really gout and not something else.
Here are some tips on how to treat gout
Painkillers: Take ibuprofen or other over the counter pain reliever to ease your pain but not aspirin and acetaminophen. Aspirin can block the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys, which can worsen a gout attack and Acetaminophen does not fight inflammation the way it should for you to get much relief for your pain.
Avoid pressure: Keep the affected toe elevated and keep any kind of a weight off your foot. Wearing socks, blankets, and sheets, can cause a lot of pain, try and avoid them to be more comfortable.
Apply heat or cold: Cold reduces the swelling. Apply an ice pack of crushed ice for 10 to 15 minutes or as you can tolerate, and reapply as needed. Use a sponge to reduce the pressure. You can also apply a hot water bottle or a heating pad, but use a towel to wrap it as a cushion.
Drink Water: Drinking a large amount of fluid to help flush excess uric acid from your system. Drink 6 to 10 glasses a day. Drinking lots of water may also help to prevent kidney stones that many people with gout experience. Water also helps to prevent dehydration which can trigger a gout attack.
Foods to avoid that causes gout: A low purine diet is essential in treating and preventing gout. One way to fight gout is to withhold compounds that the body breaks down into uric acid. Try to avoid these foods.
Alcohol, (interferes with uric acid excretion from the kidneys) Anchovies, Asparagus, Cauliflower, (cauliflower contains purines that break down into uric acid in the body), Dried beans and lentils, Herring, Lunch meat, Oatmeal, Organ meats, Mushrooms, mussels, peas. Poultry, Sardines, Saturated fat, Spinach, White flour, White sugar, Yeast products. If you have to use them, use moderation.
Eat plenty of these foods: Fresh vegetable juices (carrot, celery, parsley), Grains, seeds, and nuts, High fiber foods, and complex carbohydrates, Plenty of water to aid with excretion of uric acid, Raw fruits, and vegetables, Vegetable broths.
Herbal remedies for gout:
Grapeseed: This contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in joints and also work as an anti-inflammatory to decrease swelling and improve circulation to the affected joint.
Tumeric: Like grapeseed, turmeric is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is effective in easing the stiffness and pain of gout.
Celery Seed: An extract of celery seed has the ability to calm inflammation and help to neutralize the effects of uric acid.
Cherries and Berries: Cherries, especially black cherries, blueberries, and strawberries have proven to reduce levels of uric acid in studies. Black cherry juice is the most effective. Drink 1/8 to 1/4 cup of pure juice per day.
Caution: Always speak to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies to find out if it’s safe to do so to avoid the side effects of other medications.
Obesity has been linked to high levels of uric acid in the blood, therefore, weight control should be an important factor for people with gout. Slow and steady weight loss is more likely to keep your gout under control and will help prevent future attacks.
If acute gout is diagnosed at an early stage and treated, the development of the chronic form can be prevented. The treatment of gout is based on medications to control the inflammation and prevent the formation of uric acid. Try to avoid high purine foods that contribute to high uric acid levels, drink plenty of water, exercise to keep your weight within normal limits if necessary. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Speak to your doctor about your condition to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Take prescriptions as prescribed for gout in order to prevent future attacks. Take care!