Gout is a disorder that results from the buildup of uric acid in the tissues or a joint. Gout can occur anywhere in the foot but most commonly in the great toe joint/big toe or ankle joints. It predominantly occurs in men but women occasionally do get gout. An attack of gout can cause miserable pain therefore it is often called an “attack”. Often it starts with an intense pain that comes on suddenly usually in the middle of the night or upon arising out of bed in the morning. The affected area develops sudden redness, swelling and is warm or hot to the touch. Even bed sheets touching the foot can cause intense pain. As mentioned it is most often over the great toe joint or ankle joint. What causes gout? Gout attacks are caused by deposits of crystallized uric acid in the joint. Uric acid is present in the blood and is eliminated in the urine, but in people who have gout, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in the joints. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of purines, chemicals that are found naturally in our bodies and in our foods and drinks. There are many causes of gout, sometimes it is simply due to dehydration, blood pressure medications, drinking alcohol or eating red meat. Sometimes, it is due poor regulation of uric acid, which can be inherited disorder. Often, people afflicted with gout have had family members with it also. Proper diagnosis is important. Treatment is often with medications to reduce pain and inflammation, modification of diet and occasionally steroid injections if necessary. Once gout is under control there are medications to keep the uric acid in control when it is necessary. Often gout can be so painful it becomes urgent. Please give us a call if you think you may be having a gout attack.