Man with painful goutGout affects 14% of Pacific Island men and around 5% of European men. It is more frequent in people with diabetes. We may be in the midst of the third great gout epidemic of western civilisation. The first epidemic occurred in the Roman Empire, the second at the height of the British Empire. Risk factors to gout are primarily genetic predisposition or hereditary, family history, gender (more common in men) alcohol consumption and general health.

There is a significant relationship between gout and osteo-arthritis, particularly in the foot. Gout is a build-up of sodium urate concentration in the blood; although blood tests can be helpful, they are not 100% diagnostic. Acute gout can be very painful; red, hot, swollen and painful; disabling and reduces the everyday limits of physical activity.

Chronic gout produces tophi eruptions which are white tissue.

Podiatrists have an important role to play in the treatment of gout in the foot. Diagnosis is important as well as information about medications. This is best done in conjunction with your General Practitioner.

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