How to Prevent Gout Attacks

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Excess uric acid that can build up in the bloodstream can cause a painful condition called gout. While it is a normal ingredient of your blood, too much can be a bad thing. Acid can increase to levels that will lead to crystallization of the acid into the tissues around the joints when any excess uric acid is not expelled from the body. These tiny crystals are like little knives that stab into your tender skin. When gout affects the big toe joint, the condition can be particularly painful and debilitating. 

Since gout can be misidentified as other conditions such as hallux rigidus (stiff big toe), you should always have an evaluation done by your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. 

To prevent having a gout attack the following methods will help: 

  • Avoid foods high in purines—Many foods are high in purines which contribute to excess uric acid formation. Foods including shellfish, cured meats, red wine, beer, and whiskey contain high amounts of purines and should be avoided.

  • Decrease uric acid with medication—The prescription medication Allopurinol can remove uric acid from the blood, but once you start taking it you have to continue taking it since stopping may precipitate an attack.

Keep properly hydrated—Drinking enough healthy fluids is essential to ridding your body of the uric acid crystals that are causing gout.  Good hydration will also dilute your blood uric acid concentration thereby preventing crystal formation. 

Severe gout symptoms will usually subside in a day or two, but continuing to consume foods that are high in purines may trigger another attack. 

For proper diagnosis and treatment of gout, see your foot doctor. At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, our podiatrist, Dr. Elliott M. Perel treats a variety of conditions including diabetic foot problems, bunions, nail fungus, arthritis, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies including shockwave therapy, MLS Laser treatment, and computerized gait analysis, Monroe Foot & Ankle Care provides specialized, high-quality service for patients across central New Jersey. For any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, contact our Monroe/Jamesburg office at (732) 521-2155.