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Have You Ever Suffered From Gout?

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Over a million Australians suffer from gout every year.  It used to be known as ‘The Disease of Kings’ due to it’s association with over indulgence in rich food and alcohol.

We will often see it in the clinic as a very inflamed and painful big toe joint. But what exactly is gout?

Gout is an inflammatory arthritic disease that results in uric acid crystals depositing into joints. The most common joint it affects is the big toe joint where it can cause severe pain and discomfort. The joints affected usually swell and usually very red. One of my teachers when I was training always used the term ‘cherry red’ to describe the appearance of gout.

The uric crystals can also deposit in other joints of the body, like knees, elbows, ankles, wrists and finger joints. But when it occurs in feet, it can be quite debilitating. Once the crystals have deposited in the joint cause it can cause friction within the joint, rub and stop it from moving.

People typically get gout because of a poor diet. But there is also a genetic predisposition to develop this disease.

Other factors that predispose you to gout are diabetes and obesity.

Treating gout is usually a multifactorial arrangement.  Firstly it is best to see your GP and have blood tests done to confirm, and then you are usually put on medication.  You will have to change your diet (and as a bonus we have what you can eat at the end of this blog), increase your exercise (gout permitting), and if you have any foot joints affected, come and see us as we have strategies to offload your joints to help you with exercising.

If you have any questions, or if you are struggling with a gout affected joint, please contact us on 9542 3491 as we will be able to help you out. Now as promised, here are 10 tips to help you beat gout:

Ten tips for beating gout

If you have gout, use these nutrition tips to lower your risk:

  1. See your GP to check or monitor gout risk factors
  2. Drink up to four cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee a day
  3. Have two to three serves of reduced-fat or skim dairy foods daily (for example, milk on cereal, milky coffee, custard or yoghurt)
  4. Eat cherries regularly (fresh or frozen). Add to breakfast cereal and snacks, or mix with yoghurt
  5. Avoid fasting and feasting. Both increase purine turnover and blood uric acid
  6. Manage your weight by trying to prevent weight gain. If you are overweight, try to drop a few kilograms
  7. Avoid foods high in purines (offal meats, sardines, anchovies, yeast spreads, beer) and rein in the portion size of foods with a medium purine content
  8. Cut out soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice. Aim for two litres of water daily (or enough so your urine is the colour of straw)
  9. Limit alcohol, especially beer and spirits
  10. Manage your fructose by avoiding honey, brown sugar and corn syrup solids (check food labels). Eat fruit and vegetables with a low to moderate fructose content. Avoid those that are very high in fructose, except for cherries.

See you next week

The team from Sutherland Podiatry Centre

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