What Causes Gout and How Can I Treat It?

A common cause of foot pain is gout. It’s a form of arthritis that tends to target the joint at the base of your big toe. Like other forms of arthritis, gout can flare up after periods of minimal symptoms. 

Gout can become so intensely painful that it affects your ability to walk. Although the big toe joint is the most likely to develop gout, other joints can be affected and become dysfunctional. Even if you experience relief during periods of remission, advanced treatment can reduce your pain significantly and restore function to joints with gout. 

Gout has no cure, but Naples Regenerative Institute offers the leading treatments. At our office in Naples, Florida, regenerative specialist Glenn M. Flanagan, MD, provides individualized care to reduce gout flares, help you manage pain, and avoid common gout complications like kidney stones. 

Understanding gout and how it starts

To understand gout, you must first understand uric acid. 

Uric acid is a byproduct produced when your body breaks down chemicals called purines. You can get purines from some common foods and drinks, like beer or anchovies, but they’re also in your cells and DNA. 

Most uric acid dissolves in your blood or travels to your kidneys to exit through the urinary system as waste. 

However, when there is too much uric acid in your bloodstream, it can build up and crystallize in your joints. This is what causes gout. Too much uric acid (hyperuricemia) doesn’t always cause gout, but when it does, affected joints become hot, swollen, and painful. 

How to tell if you have gout

The only way to diagnose gout is through a medical evaluation. After you report symptoms like joint pain and redness to Dr. Flanagan, he will examine the affected joint or joints and provide testing. 

A blood test can tell you if you have high uric acid levels in the blood – anything higher than 7.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) may indicate hyperuricemia. A joint fluid test can also identify gout. 

Your best options for gout treatment

Naples Regenerative Institute specializes in regenerative therapies, which harness your body’s natural healing abilities to treat or manage painful conditions, including gout. Dr. Flanagan may recommend regenerative therapies and other treatments that reduce inflammation and facilitate healing. 

Dr. Flanagan creates your individualized gout care plan after thoroughly evaluating your painful joint and diagnostic testing. Managing your gout might involve the following: 

Cortisone injections

Cortisone is a steroid that reduces inflammation and pain in a targeted joint. Cortisone injections are a great option when more conservative options like physical therapy or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) don’t provide relief. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

PRP is an injectable substance full of growth factors that facilitate and guide the healing process. The substance comes from a processed blood sample containing only liquid plasma and blood platelets. PRP provides relief for many people experiencing joint pain by allowing the damage within the joint to heal. 

Stem cell therapy

Stem cells are immature cells that grow and differentiate into various cell types needed for tissue repair. Stem cells in stem cell therapy are harvested from your bone marrow or fat and can help joints with gout heal. 

A comprehensive gout care plan might also involve physical therapy, dietary modification, limited alcohol intake, and other recommendations to support joint health. Book your gout treatment consultation online or over the phone at Naples Regenerative Institute today.

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