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Gout Specialist

Michigan Foot & Ankle Institute, PC

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Clinton Township, MI

More than eight million Americans have gout. This type of inflammatory arthritis typically causes serious symptoms in your big toe, including severe pain. If you have or suspect gout, there’s no reason to suffer. The experienced podiatrists at Michigan Foot & Ankle Institute, PC, Edmund Kowalchick, DPM, and Stacey Miller, DPM, are here to diagnose and treat your gout so you can get on with your life. Michigan Foot & Ankle Institute, PC, has two offices in Clinton Township, Michigan, so book your visit by calling the nearest office or using the online booking tool today.

Gout Q & A

What is gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that usually occurs in the metatarsophalangeal joint where your big toe joins your foot. Sometimes gout in this particular joint is called podagra. 

While more than half of gout cases occur in the big toe, gout may also strike other areas like the ankle and the midfoot. Gout manifests in flares, aka attacks, which can occur either frequently or rarely. Gout attacks often start at night. 

What are the signs of gout?

The most common symptom of gout is severe pain in the big toe joint. You may also have:

  • Swelling
  • Red skin
  • Hot-feeling joint
  • Difficulty moving the joint

Gout attacks are self-limiting, which means your symptoms recede naturally in time, usually within two weeks. 

Even though your symptoms will go away, it's important to know that each attack causes serious damage to your joint. Eventually, gout could destroy your joint if you don't get treatment. Untreated gout can also expand to other joints.

What causes gout?

Gout occurs because of uric acid accumulation in the blood. The excess uric acid forms needle-like crystals that cause the pain associated with gout.

You make most of the uric acid in your body, and about 33% comes from the food you eat. Foods with high purines — such as liver, certain shellfish, alcohol, and bacon — convert to uric acid in your body. 

Normally, uric acid dissolves, and you flush it out through urination. But, if you eat a lot of high purine foods or have naturally high uric acid levels due to kidney disease, diabetes, medication, or other reasons, you may have trouble eliminating the purines and could develop gout. 

How is gout treated?

Gout treatment focuses on relieving your symptoms and reducing your uric acid levels. Your treatment may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Joint immobilization to prevent movement and additional damage
  • Cortisone injections to ease inflammation and pain
  • Changing your diet to reduce purine intake

In some cases, you might have high blood uric acid levels even after you manage your dietary purine intake. Your podiatrist at Michigan Foot & Ankle Institute, PC, might prescribe xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol to lower your uric acid levels. They may also suggest custom-made shoes to relieve pain related to gout.

​Michigan Foot & Ankle Institute, PC, offers gout treatments that can put an end to your symptoms and prevent long-term joint damage, so call the office or use the online booking tool today.