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Why a Podiatrist is Often the First to Diagnose Gout

Posted Jan 28 2010 5:50pm

There are several systemic diseases that podiatrists will often diagnose before your primary care doctor due to how those particular diseases present. One of these disease that podiatrists are likely to diagnose before any other doctor is gout.

Gout is caused by elevated uric acid levels in your body that precipitates to form little crystals that deposit in your joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. This occurs often after having a high protein meal or when you may be dehydrated. (After the upcoming Super Bowl, I’ll see lots of gout attacks from too much wings and beer in my Houston podiatry practice!) The most common joint that gout affects is the big toe (contributing to over 75% of all gout attacks). When someone is experiencing a “gout attack” they have severe pain in their big toe which becomes red, tender, hot and swollen. When an individual experiences a gout attack it is so painful that even the weight of sheets on the big toe can make someone scream!

Due to the intensity of pain that is associated with a gout attack, people are forced to go to a doctor to help alleviate the pain. If someone is experiencing a gout attack for the first time and it manifests in the big toe they are likely to go to their podiatrist because they likely think they have broken their toe. This is one reason why podiatrist can be the first person to diagnose you with gout.

Although it is usually a chronic disease that will randomly come back over the years, there are many medications and lifestyle changes that can be made to help control gout from attacking again. If you even experience a gout attack visit your podiatrist. He can prescribe medication to alleviate the pain quickly. Sometimes, a cortisone injection will help and other times he may refer you to a rheumatologist. There are few physicians better equipped than a podiatrist to handle a painful attach of gout.

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