Arthritis is a disease of the joints which causes them to become inflamed and stiffen. There are three types of arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and the less common form, Gout.


What is gout and what causes it?

Gout is the result of an imbalance of uric acid in the body and manifests via a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Small crystals may form, which collect in the joint causing irritation and inflammation, and which can be very painful and severe.

Apart from the severe pain that gout causes, most other effects of gout are uncommon but it can include kidney damage via crystals forming to create kidney stones which are notorious for being extremely painful to pass.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of gout is waking up in themiddle of the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for a few
hours and usually subsides then doesn’t return for a few months.

How do I prevent it?

You can reduce your chances of having attacks by leading a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet including what you drink (i.e. avoiding too much alcohol or fizzy drinks)
  • Making sure there is plenty of Vitamin C in your diet.

What are the treatments?

Gout can be controlled and regulated with antiinflammatory drugs, which your family doctor will be able to prescribe, and these will alleviate the attack over 24 hours or so. An immediate measure is to
levitate your leg to help reduce swelling along with the application of ice or cooling lotions while waiting for your medication to take effect.

Your podiatrist will be able to help alleviate issues by adapting your existing footwear with orthoses or other appliances which fit into your shoes and help redistribute pressure away from the affected parts.

They will also advise you on the correct type of shoes to wear and can provide protective shields for your toes or padding to relieve pressure and reduce friction. Any secondary problems like ulcers or corns can also be treated. They can also refer you to a specialist for more serious cases.

Gout patient information
An APodA member resource © Australian Podiatry Association 2023