What causes gout?

Gout is caused by hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is a condition in which the body has an excessive amount of a biochemical called uric acid. We can be overproducers or under execrators of uric acid. Proper diet and exercise help in this condition. Gout was called Podagra over the ages and usually affected the wealthy upper class. As such, it was thought to be a “Rich Man’s Disease” as only the wealthy were able to eat a diet rich enough to produce high levels of uric acid in the body. Now that we generally have plenty of food to go around we are all more at risk for gout as a population. The Diabetic population is also at a higher risk for gout.

As a foot and ankle specialist we are on the front line and often see gout for the first time and make the initial diagnosis of gout in our patients. Gout often presents in the office with a red-hot swollen big toe joint that is exquisitely tender to touch. It is not unusual to see a person come to the office on crutches due to the extreme pain this disease creates. In acute situations corticosteroid injections can “down regulate the acute inflammation within a few hours. We reserve urgent clinic visits for our gout patient’s due to the intense pain this causes.

Gout Treatment provided at The Foot and Ankle Institute of Utah: 

  • Diet and lifestyle modification and coaching
  • Laboratory studies to evaluate for hyperuricemia
  • Treatment of chronic hyperuricemia and acute gout with medications such as:
    • Allopurinol
    • Colchicine
    • Uloric
    • Oral Prednisone
    • Corticosteroid injections
    • Surgical removal of tophaceous gout

Gout Tip: Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic have done extensive studies and research on the  treatment of gout and have excellent information on dietary changes that will assist in reduction of uric acid.

Follow this link to read the whole story for diet and lifestyle modification.