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Living With Gout in Your Feet

When you eat an abundance of foods that are high in a natural chemical called purines, you’re at risk for gout. Gout is an exceedingly painful form of arthritis that tends to attack the big toe joint. You might feel it most when you try to sleep at night or when you first awaken.

If you have gout, or any other type of arthritis that affects your feet, Michael J. Frazier, DPM, founder of The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center in Cypress, Texas, wants you to know that you don’t have to suffer. Almost 4% of all American adults have gout. If you’re one of them, here are some “steps” you can take to minimize its effects

Do you want crystals in your toe?

Gout can be even more painful than other forms of arthritis, and there’s a good reason why. In addition to stiff, inflamed joints, gout sufferers have to soldier through another insult: crystals in their toes.

When you consume foods that contain purines, your body breaks the purines down into uric acid. But, if you eat too many purines, your body can’t process all of the uric acid. The leftover acid crystallizes and settles in the tissues of your big toe joint or other joints in your foot, ankle, or knee. The uric acid crystals feel like sharp pins and needles.

To avoid adding more crystals to your collection, it’s important to modify your diet so that you minimize the amount of purines you consume. 

Cut down or cut out the following high-purine foods:

You should also minimize or eliminate alcoholic beverages and sodas. Beer is especially bad for gout because it contains both alcohol and yeast.

Enjoy low-purine meals and treats

Piling your plate with low-purine foods is a colorful and flavorful way to break your addiction to high-purine meals. 

Enjoy these foods that are lower in purines:

You can also eat one serving of lower-purine meat several times a week, choosing from salmon or unprocessed meats like beef, poultry, pork, and lamb.

Studies demonstrate that drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day may help prevent gout attacks. Be sure to ask Dr. Frazier about a calcium supplement if you’re at risk for osteoporosis, because caffeine depletes calcium.

Also be sure to drink plenty of water, which dilutes your urine so your body can process uric crystals more easily. And if you have a gout attack, grab a handful of cherries, drink 100% cherry juice, or take a vitamin C supplement.

Get a move on

Moving your joints is always a good idea, whether you have gout or not. When you flex and straighten your joints, they release a lubricant called synovial fluid that helps them glide more smoothly. 

If gout has kept you out of commission for a while, talk to Dr. Frazier about exercises you can do to strengthen your toe, foot, and ankle. He may also recommend physical therapy.

Get relief from gout

If you have an attack of gout that doesn’t resolve with lifestyle modifications, let us know. Dr. Frazier may treat you with corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases, he may need to remove damaged tissue from your toe.

Take care of your gout or other arthritis by phoning our office at 281-607-1863 or use our online appointment form.

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