Experiencing pain and swelling can be miserable in any body part. When it attacks your feet, it can make it especially difficult to be mobile or go about your daily routine. If you have agonizing swelling and pain in your big toe, you could have a type of arthritis called gout.
Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, board-certified podiatrist at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, always recommends a few straightforward lifestyle changes you can make that significantly reduce your risk of excruciating gout attacks. If you have gout, follow these lifestyle tips to keep from getting gout attack flare-ups.
Gout is a form of arthritis that only occurs in one or both of your big toe joints. Gout causes you to have periodic flare-ups in your big toe, which cause swelling, redness, and pain.
Even the slightest touch can hurt your big toe during a flare-up. You can also sometimes have a more limited range of motion in the joint and discomfort that continues even after a flare-up.
You’re at greater risk of developing gout if you’re male, aged 30-50, have a family history of gout, and are overweight or obese.
4 ways to reduce your gout attack risk
Once you’ve been diagnosed with gout, you can minimize or eliminate your symptoms and make it less likely you’ll have attacks by changing your lifestyle. These four modifications make you less likely to get uncomfortable gout symptoms.
1. Change what you eat
Gout flare-ups happen when you have high uric acid levels in your body. You can reduce the amount of uric acid present by altering your diet.
A gout-friendly diet includes larger quantities of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meat, poultry, legumes, and low-fat dairy. On the other hand, food high in high fructose corn syrup, saturated fats, and simple carbohydrates increase your risk of attacks.
You’ll feel better and have fewer gout attacks if you limit foods like baked goods, red meat, and general convenience foods.
2. Stay hydrated and reduce some types of liquids
Alcohol has been shown to up your risk of having gout attacks. Avoid alcohol altogether during a flare-up to help it be less severe, and limit your consumption at other times.
Dehydration can also contribute to developing gout. You can lower your risk of recurring attacks by staying well-hydrated and avoiding sugary drinks, sodas, and other sweet beverages.
3. Get to or remain a healthy weight
Being overweight means you’re more likely to develop gout and more likely to have painful gout attacks after developing the condition. On the other hand, if you’re overweight or obese and lose weight, you’ll lower your risk of painful gout attacks.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly helps you lower or maintain your weight if you don’t need to lose any additional weight. Our team can help you develop a diet and exercise program that reduces your weight and risk of gout attacks.
4. Get treatment for sleep apnea
Untreated sleep apnea can cause more frequent and severe episodes of gout. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or need help to control your sleep apnea, the right treatment will help you feel better overall and prevent gout attacks.
Often, these four lifestyle changes are enough to minimize or completely eliminate gout attacks. However, if they don’t work on their own, Dr. Rambacher can work with you to help you make additional lifestyle changes, footwear modifications, or prescribe medication.
For support with gout or other foot and ankle needs, contact us to schedule an appointment.