Waking up in the middle of the night while feeling sharp, stabbing pain is never a good feeling. If the pain centers in the joint of your big toe, there’s a good chance you have gout. It’s a type of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in your blood.
Uric acid forms urate crystals that can collect within a joint, causing intense pain that’s severe enough that walking becomes difficult and even the weight of a bedsheet on your toe can create intense pain.
The gout specialists at Hudson Valley Foot Associates understand the severity of your pain and they know you want relief quickly. In most cases, gout responds well to medication. However, the pain is strong enough that you’ll want to do anything you can to avoid another attack.
We can help with that too, since the body chemistry changes that bring on gout attacks are well known. Let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid further gout attacks as well as medical treatment options available if your efforts come up short.
Uric acid and urate crystals stem from purines, a substance found naturally in your body as well as in some foods that you eat. Your body breaks down purines into uric acid and, normally, your kidneys filter it out into your urine.
When your body produces too much uric acid or when your kidneys fail to process enough to return uric acid levels to normal, it’s then that you’re at risk of urate crystal formation. Urates form needle-like crystals, and it’s easy to imagine these are behind the stabbing pain you feel during a gout attack.
While you can’t always influence uric acid levels in your body, you can reduce your risk by avoiding the excessive consumption of purines. That and other factors can make gout attacks more likely. These conditions and factors include:
Recurring gout attacks can lead to kidney stones composed of uric acid as well as deterioration of the affected joints.
Acute gout attacks often respond well to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), either over-the-counter products containing ibuprofen and naproxen or prescription drugs like indomethacin. Colchicine and corticosteroids may also be used.
If your uric acid levels remain chronically high, you may be a candidate for a medication that reduces the amount of uric acid in your system.
Contact Hudson Valley Foot Associates at the first sign of a gout attack. We can treat you in any of our five locations. Book online or call your preferred office directly.