Don't let uric acid get the best of you!

Nothing else can stop you in your tracks more than serious foot pain. When a foot condition brings pain and discomfort, it can be hard to wear shoes, exercise and go about your daily activities. A painful disorder we treat regularly at our Palm Desert, CA podiatric office is gout.


What is Gout?

Gout is actually a complex form of arthritis and can affect joints in your ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. Gout results from a build-up of uric acid in the joint or surrounding tissues. Uric acid is a bodily waste product from the breakdown of purines. When uric acid cannot be eliminated properly, the accumulation can result in the uric acid depositing as needle-like crystals in joints and tissues.

In feet, gout often affects the joint of the big toe. Cooler temperatures accelerate the crystallization of the uric acid. Your toes are the farthest away from your heart, making them susceptible to attacks.

Gout can be acute, meaning it can happen one time or it can develop into being a chronic problem. A gout attack can come on suddenly in the middle of the night and last for several days. When it resolves, another attack can happen several months or even years later. Without proper monitoring, gout attacks can happen more regularly and last longer when they do occur.


What Are the Symptoms of Gout?

Most of our patients who suffer with gout attacks describe the same experiences. A painful disorder, some of the common symptoms include:

  • Sudden and intense pain – often occurring in the middle of the night
  • Warmth in the joint – you may even feel like your foot is on fire
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness in the affected joint
  • Tenderness


Am I at Risk For Developing Gout?

The depositing of the uric acid crystals in the affected joint causes a gout attack. There are factors though that can put you at a higher risk for this disorder. These factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • Family history of gout
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Eating foods rich in purines
  • Being a woman past menopause
  • Being a male between 40-50 years of age


How is Gout Treated?

Now that you have learned of the painful symptoms of gout, we want to encourage you that it is treatable and preventable. After diagnosing that your symptoms are resulting from gout, Dr. Danciger will put a treatment plan in place to control the condition. The goal will be to reduce the severity of the attacks and the risk of future ones.

Treatment of gout initially begins with medications to treat the attack itself using injections and pain or anti-inflammatory medications. Dr. Danciger can provide medicines to lower the uric acid levels in your body and appropriate dietary restrictions to follow. He may also suggest that you immobilize and rest your foot to reduce pain and swelling.

Some of the common tips we share with our patients who live with gout attacks include:

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Drink at least 2-4 liters of water each day, especially during an attack
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid foods rich in purines. These would include:
    • Mushrooms
    • Gravy
    • Liver
    • Anchovies
    • Sweetbreads
    • Asparagus
    • Game meats

We understand the importance of getting you back to life without foot pain, so please come in and see us if you have been trying to manage gout on your own. We can get you on a treatment plan that will ease your symptoms and prevent future episodes. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment online.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle