Recently, I had an older gentleman in my clinic who was experiencing severe foot pain. While he’s in his 70’s, he’s very active outdoors and he suspected he had broken his big toe while doing yard work. He’d first visited a physiotherapist for his symptoms as he’d originally thought he had a sprain. The physiotherapist couldn’t diagnose or improve his condition, and, thinking there might be a break in his foot, referred him to me.
The gentleman’s symptoms were as follows: severe pain, swelling, and redness that started in the big toe, and eventually radiated to his whole foot. When we went over his health history, I learned he has arthritis and eats a lot of game.
A quick blood test showed that he had high levels of uric acid, and combined with his sometimes acute arthritis and diet, I quickly diagnosed his condition as gout.
Gout is a very painful form of arthritis that flares up when there is too much uric acid in the body. The uric acid creates crystal deposits in the joints — most often the big toe. It is characterized by pain, swelling and redness — all the symptoms this gentleman had thought was being caused by a broken toe.
Gout is typically treated by NSAIDs and steroids called corticosteroids (usually prednisone). In cases of a very severe attack, colchicine (a beta-tubulin interactor) is prescribed. Once treated, gout sufferers must watch their diets and maintain a healthy body weight to prevent future attacks.
If you are prone to gout or would like to learn more, contact Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings for more information.