Gout - Painful Big Toe

What Is Gout?

Gout is a condition where uric acid in the blood stream is elevated and the excess uric acid deposits into joints and soft tissues of the body as uric acid crystals causing an acute painful inflammation.

What is Uric Acid?

Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines.

Food rich in purines include:

  • red meats such as beef, mutton
  • soya based foods – toufu
  • peanuts
  • alchohol – wine, beer, whisky
  • some seafood – tuna, sardines, salmon
  • innards – liver, intestines

What is the Normal Range of Uric Acid?

Normal values will vary from laboratory to laboratory.

Normal Uric acid levels are 2.4-6.0 mg/dL (female) and 3.4-7.0 mg/dL (male).

When Does Uric Acid in the Blood Stream Start to Crystallize?

It usually crystallize at > 6 g/dL.

Where Are The Usual Areas of Gouty Attacks?

The big toe base (metatarso-phalangeal joint) is the most common.

Other areas are ankle joint, knee joint, wrist joint, elbow joint.

It can also occur in hip joints, spine, and soft tissues all over the body.

What Are The Usual Symptoms?

  • Pain, pain, excruciating pain.
  • Swelling. Especially inside the affected joint.
  • Warmth.
  • Limited range of joint movements.

How To Treat?

  • Stop taking gouty foods.
  • Drink lots of water as uric acid is cleared via the kidneys.
  • Take oral anti-inflammatory medications from your doctor.
  • Colchicine is a popular medication prescribed by doctors during acute attacks.
  • Consider starting on uric acid lowering drugs if the gouty attacks occur often.