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Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood, passes through your kidneys, and exits your body via urine. But in some people, uric acid isn't eliminated properly, and levels become too high. This excess uric acid builds up around the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, and severe pain, which is why Gout is classified as a form of arthritis.
Most patients experience their first gout attack in the middle of the night - they wake up to a throbbing pain in the joint just below the big toe (the same area where bunions develop), which is frequently swollen as well. Gout may also appear in the arch of your foot, ankle, heel, knee, wrist, fingers, or elbow.
Symptoms of Gout
(Some patients experience no symptoms, which unfortunately may develop into chronic gout)
Why some people with high uric acid levels develop Gout and others don't is not completely understood, but one or more of these factors are thought to contribute:
Attacks of gouty arthritis are extremely painful. If you experience sudden and intense pain in your big toe or anywhere else in your foot or ankle, make an appointment with the PA Foot and Ankle Associates office immediately for a thorough evaluation. If you leave gout untreated, it may become much worse.
Gout can be controlled with prescription medications and diet, and ice helps alleviate pain and swelling during an acute phase. In some cases, specially-made shoes are prescribed to relieve the pain associated with gout.