Gout is a disorder that results from the buildup of uric acid in joints, and the condition most often affects the joint of the big toe. Uric acid is present in the blood and eliminated in the urine, but in people who have gout, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in the joints. Some people are prone to developing gout because their kidneys have difficulty eliminating normal amounts of uric acid. Others develop gout because they produce too much uric acid. Uric acid is sensitive to temperature change. At cooler temperatures, uric acid crystalizes. Because the big toe is farthest from the heart, it is the coolest part of the body, and thus the most likely candidate for gout. However, gout can affect any joint in the body. Factors that put a person at higher risk for gout include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, surgery, chemotherapy, stress, and certain medications and vitamins. Gout is most common in men between the ages of 40 and 60, however it can occur at any age in both men and women. Symptoms include intense, sudden pain and signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling, and warmth of the joint. Treatment options include prescription medications or injections, dietary restrictions, increased fluids, and immobilizing and elevating the foot.

“Gout is a very painful inflammation of the joint. Adult men, overweight people, those who drink alcohol, and those who eat food rich in purines are most at risk for gout. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually recommended as the first treatment for gout. They work by reducing pain and inflammation during an attack.”