What is Gout?
Short answer: very painful joints!
(Most commonly the big toe but also joints such as the ankle, elbow, wrist, shoulder and knees).
Gout is the very acute build up of uric acid in the joint which causes inflammation and arthritic pain. Uric acid is often broken down by the kidney and dissolved into the bloodstream but in this condition there is a residual build up of crystals in the joint which may cause swelling and pain.
What is are the signs, symptoms and of Gout?
Gout can happen very quickly (overnight) and often insidious in nature. Things to look out for would be swelling, tenderness, redness and intense joint pain. Gout is not presented within the muscle belly (it is joint related)
What are the risk factors for Gout?
- Overweight or obesity
- Type 2 Diabetes or glucose intolerance
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Kidney disease or recent surgery
- High levels of uric acid
- Family History of Gout
How do I treat Gout?
Always talk to your GP first about managing gout but the first thing to do is manage the inflammation and reduce pain. This is usually done by rest, ice and/or NSAID’s (anti-inflammatories). In some cases your GP may prescribe colchicine in the very acute stages.
Can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapists can conduct a thorough subjective medical history and perform a physical exam to ensure that there is no musculoskeletal involvement causing your joint pain.
If indicated, SPS physiotherapists have a wide connection to GP’s who will be able to conduct a blood test to measure uric acid levels or rule out any other potential causes for your symptoms.
Prevention is the key!
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight – aim for at least 30 mins, 5x/week
- Stay hydrated – aim for 2L of water intake/day
- Avoid binge drinking or excessive alcohol intake
- Speak with a dietitian or your GP about management of your diet.