Battlefield Foot and Ankle Center, PC
10620-B Crestwood Drive
Manassas, VA 20109
Your Sharp Foot Pain Could Be Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. It causes an attack, most commonly in the big toe, of sudden pain, redness, and swelling. It is more common in men. With increased uric acid levels, hard crystals may form in the joints and lead to a gout attack.
Gout attacks can also occur in the ankles, knees and other joints in the foot. The attacks can last for a couple of days, and go on for weeks.
Many patients will relate that even the light touch of the bed sheet causes considerable sharp pain. Gout can be recurrent, and even become a chronic problem over a long period of time.
Some factors that may predispose one for gout include being overweight, certain medications, such as some diuretics, eating foods high in purines or drinking too much alcohol. Purines can break down into uric acid, and there are many foods high, or moderately high, in purines, such as lentils, organ meats and many other foods.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gout in your feet or ankles, your podiatrist will be able to do a physical exam and order a blood test to measure the amount of uric acid in your blood. Your doctor may also take a sample of joint fluid to examine if there are uric acid crystals within the joint.
Gout can be treated with short-term medication to stop the attack, and controlled with a long-term regimen, which prevents further attacks if it becomes a chronic issue.
During an acute attack, the medication will generally work within 24 hours to decrease the pain and swelling.
It is important that the affected joint be rested without any pressure. It is advisable to drink plenty of water, as well as to eat a proper diet that controls the uric acid levels in your blood.
Avoid regular intake of meat, shellfish, wine and beer and other foods that are high in purines.