Arthritis, joint, bone & muscle

Gout

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A form of arthritis characterised by intense pain in a single joint, often the big toe.

Affected areas

Most commonly affects the big toe, but may also occur in the knee, ankle, elbow and other joints

Symptoms

  • Pain in a joint, that appears very quickly
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness of the affected joint

Causes

Gout is a form of arthritis and is associated with high-blood-levels of uric acid, a compound that's a by-product of your body's normal breakdown of food. Uric acid itself is a product of the metabolism of purines, compounds found in a range of food.

Foods containing purines;

  • Offal (including related products like pate)
  • Game meat
  • Some seafood (especially anchovies and sardines)
  • Some vegetables including asparagus and mushrooms

Normally your body maintains uric acid levels by dissolving it in the bloodstream, filtering it through the kidneys and then urinating. If you start creating too much uric acid or other factors prevent your body dealing with the load, then uric acid crystals form on the joints. This is what causes the sudden pain, redness and swelling of gout.

Diet and lifestyle

It is advisable to see your doctor as soon as possible. This is important as gout can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the joints if left untreated. The dietary and lifestyle suggestions below are recommended as support measures but not as a replacement for medical treatment from a qualified medical practitioner.               

Lowering uric acid levels is a priority and changing your diet to reduce your intake of foods containing purines may help with this.

Important notes

Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition (CPPD) or Pseudogout is a similar condition to gout though its causes are unknown. It has been linked with a variety of causes including low magnesium levels in the blood, an over-active parathyroid gland, and excessive quantities of iron, as well as genetic factors.

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I am over 80 with two hammer toes. I do not drink alcohol, and only occasionally soft drink. A half glass of sweetened orange juice is drunk every morning with breakfast which is two slices of multigrain bread with cheese spread and home made lemon spread. Tea without milk or sugar, but coffee with milk once a day. One of my big toes is giving me hell with shooting pain to other areas. Pain killers only give short term relief.
Anonymous
Anonymous 10 Nov 2014
Hi Grant,
Thanks for your post.
I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in the front of your foot. Gout typically affects the joint at the base of the big toe – but can be experienced elsewhere in the body too.
Best to see your GP for a proper diagnosis.
All the best!
Kind regards,
Charmaine
Charmaine
Charmaine 29 Sep 2014
I had an ankle fusion operation 7 years ago and it has been very successful in terms of no pain right up until now. I walk and exercise reasonably regularly. I do drink beer moderately and red wine. Suddenly I woke recently to pain below my ankle in the front of the foot. Great difficulty walking and painful to touch. Had been riding my bike as exercise lately. When I warm up I seem to walk okay with less pain. Have I got gout.
Anonymous
Anonymous 29 Sep 2014
Hi Garry, I hope you find some of the diet, lifestyle and natural remedy suggestions on this page useful. Ensuring an adequate intake of water and including cherries in your daily diet are two relatively easy natural remedies to try. Please feel free to call the Blackmores Advisory service on 1800 803 760 to discuss your case with one of our naturopaths. All the best, Leanne (a Blackmores naturopath)
Leanne
Leanne 26 Sep 2014
i suffer frequently with gout is there any suggestion what i could take to stop attacks that is natural and doesnt cause other problems eg: vitamin c. I would like to know if anyone has had success with vitamin c in reducing attacks. i do not drink and do not eat any of the purine rich foods i am normaql weight and pretty active also my doctor has done a blood test anf my uric acid is not abnormal
Anonymous
Anonymous 26 Sep 2014
Dear Bryan
I wouldn’t be able to say whether the break was the main cause for your problem as Gout can appear on the big toe with or without a break.
Gout is a form of arthritis identified by elevated serum uric acid levels and may be due to a genetic predisposition or lifestyle factors.
Try and adjust your diet to minimise gout aggravating foods such as purine rich foods eg: gravies, stocks, organ meats, shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, spinach, mussels, mushrooms and asparagus. Also reducing your red wine intake is wise as alcohol increases uric acid levels and reduces the body’s ability to excrete uric acid.
Also, I’m glad to hear you have increased your water intake as water also helps to dilute uric acid.
I trust this information is helpful. If you require any individual advice please do not hesitate to contact us at advice@blackmores.com.au All the best, Michelle (Blackmores naturopath)
MICHELLE
MICHELLE 17 Sep 2014
Hi am 66 and 70kg 1800mm, fit as a fiddle.
Broke left big toe 50 yearago anchor thrown on it. Always joint was stiff.
1mth ago bumped it with sandstone block n it hurt but I notice it now moves better. then after 2 day got gout symptoms I thought was break, doc at emerg immediately said gout. I was happy toe moves . I now think we both right. as it came again. Do drink(redwine) now stopped. Have been drinking min water because prostate annoyance. Have increased water, If liquids main problem how long to get improvement.?? Can the original break be main trouble.?
Anonymous
Anonymous 17 Sep 2014
Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for your post.
I’m sorry to hear about your knee pain. I think it might be best for you to see your GP to get a proper diagnosis and assessment of what is causing the crunching sensation and pain in your knee.
Please contact us again once you know what the problem is and we may be able to offer some further advice.
Kind regards,
Charmaine (Blackmores Naturopath)
Charmaine
Charmaine 22 Aug 2014