Gout is a type of arthritis that prefers to settle in your big toe. Caused by uric acid buildup in the affected joint, gout symptoms of intense, fiery pain, redness, and swelling occur very quickly, sometimes during sleep.
The specialists at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics in Jacksonville, Florida understand gout and how to treat it. They’re committed to relieving your pain and preventing future gout attacks by addressing the underlying cause.
Read what this skilled group of fellowship-trained surgeons and certified physician assistants say about gout and the benefits of joint injection therapy.
Gout is an inflammatory arthritis triggered by high uric acid levels (hyperuricemia). Uric acid is a waste product your body naturally produces when breaking down foods containing purines.
Ordinarily, your kidneys filter excess uric acid from the bloodstream and excrete it in urine. However, if your kidneys can’t remove uric acid quickly enough, it crystallizes into tiny needle-like shards that can clump together in your joints.
Gout most often affects the big toe but can involve other joints, including the lesser toes, ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists.
During your initial evaluation at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics, your provider performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and may request imaging studies, joint fluid tests, and other labs before diagnosing gout.
However, gout symptoms are often recognizable and may include the following:
Gout attacks usually come on very suddenly, often during the night. After the initial intense pain subsides, you may experience lingering symptoms for days to weeks.
Untreated gout can cause permanent joint damage, and flares may become more frequent and last longer as the condition progresses.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to tissue damage or injury. Caused by white blood cells and other substances your immune system triggers to repel infection and repair tissue, inflammation can be good.
However, increasing inflammation and swelling in a joint worsens your pain as it irritates and inflames nearby nerves and eventually erodes healthy tissue. Corticosteroids (steroids) are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that suppress the immune system’s inflammatory response, quickly reducing swelling and relieving pain.
Oral steroids such as prednisone also reduce inflammation. However, joint injections work more quickly and effectively since the steroid is delivered directly to the site of inflammation. Thus, your Integrity Spine & Orthopedics provider may recommend a joint injection as part of your gout treatment strategy.
You may also benefit from a referral to a specialist to evaluate your kidney function or medication to lower uric acid levels. Following a low-purine diet, routine exercise, weight loss if necessary, and other healthy habits can also reduce your risk of future gout attacks.
Schedule an evaluation at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics today for more information about gout and worsening joint damage. Call the office or request an appointment online.