Gout Specialist

Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology

Rheumatologists located in Encinitas, CA

If you’re suffering from sudden and intense pain in your big toe, you might have gout. Natalie MacLean, MD, and the team at Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology in Encinitas, California, provide innovative and comprehensive approaches to managing muscle, bone, and joint conditions such as gout. To find relief from this painful condition, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.

Gout Q & A

What is gout?

Gout is a painful rheumatic disease affecting the joint in your big toe. This common form of arthritis occurs suddenly and often feels as though your big toe is burning.

When you have gout, your big toe joint looks swollen, hot, and red. It’s often highly sensitive and you’ll find it can’t tolerate the slightest contact. Additional symptoms of gout often include:

  • Intense pain in the big toe, other toe joints, ankle, or knee
  • Reduced range of motion in the affected joint
  • Pain in other joints in your body, like the fingers, wrists, or elbows
  • Discomfort in the area even after the severe pain subsides

In some cases, gout is a chronic condition where you experience flare-ups that come and go.

What causes gout?

Gout develops because of excess uric acid in your bloodstream. Uric acid naturally develops in your body as your system breaks down substances found in foods known as purines.

Common sources of purines include:

  • Seafood
  • Steak
  • Beer and alcohol
  • Sweetened beverages

Urate crystals form when uric acid accumulates in your body. This leads to swelling, pain, and inflammation. As these crystals accumulate in your big toe joint, they cause the pain and inflammation associated with gout.

Who is at risk of gout?

Anyone can develop gout, but several factors increase your risk of developing this condition, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a family history of the condition
  • Taking certain medications, like diuretics, that increase uric acid levels
  • Consuming a diet high in alcohol, meat, seafood, or sugary beverages
  • Getting dehydrated
  • Having certain medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, or heart disease

Your chances of having gout are also higher if you’re a man between 30-50 years of age. The risks also increase for women after menopause.

How is gout treated?

Dr. MacLean develops a treatment strategy to manage your condition that involves lifestyle modifications, which may include:

  • Limiting your alcohol consumption
  • Staying properly hydrated
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Following a low-fat diet with moderate amounts of meat and seafood

To manage your pain and inflammation, Dr. MacLean might also prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or joint injections.

For more information on managing gout, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.