Gout is painful; as a matter of fact, the pain is often unbearable. In many cases, it prevents you from working or doing your usual daily activities. Most people don’t even dear putting a foot on the floor when they are in pain, which is understandable. But those people who worked up their courage and started to take just a few steps found that it eased their pain. Isn’t it surprising? So the question is, can you walk with gout? In this article, you’ll find all you need to know about this subject.
What is Gout
Gout is a common and painful form of inflammatory arthritis that causes redness, pain, and swelling in one or more of your joints. It generally affects the big toe, but it can spread in the ankle, knee, elbow, wrist, or foot if it’s not treated effectively. Most of the time, the inflammation happens while you are sleeping. Gout usually occurs when the kidneys overproduce or don’t eliminate uric acid efficiently. And when there is too much uric acid in your blood, it converts into small urate crystals that look like small needle crystals and settle in your joints. Within just a few hours, the pain and swelling can become intense.
How Do You Know You Have Gout?
As I said earlier, a gout attack occurs most often in the middle of the night while you are asleep. The pain is usually felt in the big toe but can also be felt in other joints. The affected area can be so painful that even a thin sheet on your feet can be intolerable to feel.
So how do you know you have gout? It’s fairly easy to detect gout as long as you know what to look for.
Check out the list of gout symptoms so that you can take care of it as quickly as possible.
- The skin is red and, in some cases, become purple.
- Pain and stiffness in the joint that persists.
- The affected area feels hot.
- The afflicted joint becomes red, tender, swollen, and warm.
- Sudden sharp pain, especially at night.
- The affected joint is limited in the range of motion.
- The pain is likely to become more intense within the first four to twelve hours after it begins.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is caused due to a high level of uric acid in the blood. This means that when your body breaks down a substance called purines, it creates uric acid. Purine is a normal substance found in the body and can also be found in various foods and drinks.
Beverages and foods with a high uric acid level include meat, seafood, peas, mackerel, anchovies, liver, beers, sweetened beverages with fruit sugar (fructose).
But how does it happen? Based on studies, The kidneys filter out most uric acid and then get out of the body with the urine. Suppose the body builds up too much uric acid or doesn’t eliminate it correctly; uric acid level in the blood rises. When there is excess uric acid in the body, acid crystals build up in the joints and soft tissues, causing gout.
How Long Can Gout Last?
A Gout attack can last between three to two weeks with or without medication. It sounds short, but when suffering from pain, it’s pretty long. However, some excellent medications help shorten and alleviate pain. Once you get a gout attack, you must consider treating it right away to prevent another attack. A gout attack that is not treated can become chronic and spread to new joints, and even cause the joint’s deformity. The good news is that gout can be easily controlled with medication, and if well taken care of, chances are it won’t come back.
How Is Gout Diagnosed?
While it’s relatively easy to diagnose yourself in most cases, if you think you have gout, the best would be to see your physician so that you can get the fastest and most efficient treatment. There are several tests your doctor can prescribe you to determine whether or not you have gout.
Those tests include:
Joint Fluid Test
The joint fluid test is one of the most common ways to diagnose gout. It takes place when the doctor draws out fluid from the afflicted area using a needle. The liquid is then examined under a microscope, and if it shows crystals from the uric acid, that’s a sign of gout.
Your physician may suggest you do a blood test to check the uric acid level and creatine in the blood. But usually, your doctor won’t just rely on a blood test but will also use other diagnosing methods. That’s because some people with a high level of uric acid in their blood won’t ever suffer from gout, while others with a low level of uric acid will get gout.
Your doctor may suggest you do an X-ray if he/she suspects you have chronic gout and other joint damages. An X-ray will help diagnose any disease or conditions in the joints.
Ultrasound is also an effective way to diagnose gout. An ultrasound can detect gout at its early stage. For some reason, this test is more utilized in Europe than in the US.
Dual-energy CT scan:
The DECT is a relatively new method that is very accurate to diagnose gout, even when the joint is not seriously inflamed. This method is not often utilized because the test is expensive, and not every clinic has the Dual-energy CT scan.
How to Treat Gout
There are several ways to treat and help the patient overcome a brief gout disorder. Often the doctor will prescribe two types of medicine. One is to immediately alleviate pain and reduce the uric acid level in the blood, and another medication to prevent getting gout attacks.
One of the most common treatments is an injection of corticosteroids into the affected joint. This helps break up those crystals that sit in the joints and relieve gout. Corticosteroids, in some cases, are given in the form of pills rather than in shot. This treatment is usually used only in patients with gout who aren’t allowed to take colchicine or NSAIDs. Corticosteroids can cause some side effects such as high blood pressure, raised in blood sugar level, and mood changes.
Colchicine is a type of pain reliever that helps alleviate gout pain. Your doctor may suggest colchicine, but some people don’t like to take this drug because of side effects, especially when taken in large quantities. To prevent future gout attacks, your doctor may recommend you take a small dose of colchicine daily.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Ibuprofen, Advil, naproxen are inflammatory that can be bought without a prescription. More powerful drugs such as Indocin or celecoxib can be taken too, but with a prescription.
Drugs that limit uric acid production:
Your doctor may prescribe one of those medications: allopurinol xanthine oxidase inhibitors and febuxostat to reduce the blood’s uric acid level and prevent gout attacks. Like many drugs, these also cause side effects such as nausea, increase risk of heart issues, and lower liver function.
Drugs that help remove uric acid:
These medications are called uricosurics, which include lesinurad and probenecid. These uricosurics drugs help your kidneys to eliminate uric acid from the body. It’s beneficial to lower uric acid in the blood and prevent gout, but it raises uric acid levels in the urine. There are some side effects like kidney stones, stomach pain, or a rash.
How to Prevent Gout
Gout can be genetic, and if parents or grandfathers have suffered from gout, more chances that the person will probably suffer too. If this is the case for you, you should be extra careful about controlling your uric acid and do a check-up once a year.
Gout is not due only to a genetic factor. It also has a lot to do with a person’s lifestyle. Those who are more at risk of getting gout are overweight or obese people, especially men. Other factors can cause gout, such as:
- Drinking a high amount of alcohol, especially beers.
- Drinking a lot of sweetened beverages with fructose.
- Eating a diet rich in seafood or red meat.
- Dysfonctionnement of the kidneys
- Ingurgeting diuretics.
By cutting food and beverage that contains a high amount of purine, you reduce the risk of getting a gout attack.
Examples of purine meat include:
- organ meats
Examples of purine fish include:
Beverages with a high level of purine include:
- sweet juices
- Any type of alcohol, Beer, Wine, etc.
Incorporate exercises into your daily activities.
Walking, jogging, running, or any other workout form will reduce uric acid levels in the blood. You need to eat foods that contain low uric acid, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, vitamin C. It’s also recommended that you drink a lot of water. In other words, you must change your lifestyle and get rid of excess weight and exercise to stay healthy and prevent gout attacks.
Can You Walk With Gout?
It really depends. Some people find that walking helps release their gout pain, while others can’t even put a toe on the floor. Walking is excellent as it reduces uric acid. Still, doctors often recommend taking anti-inflammatory medications and keeping mobile a few days until the pain is completely gone when you have a gout attack.
Some people continue to walk, but with the help of a good walking shoe and pain killers. Unfortunately, no studies prove if it’s better to rest or walk when you have gout. The best will be to ask your doctor if it’s ok to walk with a gout flare. However, you can make walking more comfortable by wearing an appropriate pair of footwear. Here are some features you need to look for:
- The shoe needs to be easy to put on and off.
- The midsole needs to be well structured to control motion.
- The shoe needs extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot to absorb shocks – Shoes that feature a softer midsole and outsole or padded insert can ease impact and reduce stress on your joint when you walk.
- Midsole and outsole featuring a rocker system allow a smoother transition from heel to toe during the walk while providing comfort and stability.
- Studies have shown that shoes with toe rocker help reduce pain significantly by reducing pressure on the forefoot and supporting the heel-toe motion better during gait.
The majority of people find it difficult to walk or stand when they have a gout attack in their joint. Some people try to rest, even though they feel intense pain and discomfort. Others find that moving around eases the pain. So, see how you feel and do what’s best for you. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to speak with your doctor to decide if it’s ok for you to walk with gout.
Do you walk with a gout attack? If so, I would love to know about your experience.
I don’t know about you, but I love my feet because they allow me to walk and go wherever I want to go. Without them, I would be lost! So I always spoil them with a good pair of walking shoes to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you and your health. Well, fitted shoes will protect them and allow you to get more steps without pain!
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