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My Big, Red, Hot, Left Foot

Why did your foot wake you up in the middle of the night? It’s swollen, hot, red and very painful. Is it an injury? How can that happen when you were sleeping tightly in bed? Possible diagnoses that can cause these symptoms include: an injury, an infection, a rheumatologic episode or an acute Gout Attack.

Gout is a disease that stems from too much uric acid crystals in your blood stream that spills out into your joint. Due to gravity, the foot is the most common place for these uric acid salt crystals to land. It’s likened to having sand erode a rock; uric acid crystals are irritating and can erode your joint. Gout is caused by either overproducing too much uric acid (which is diet related) or under excreting the acid in your urine (which is usually associated with kidney function).

See Dr. Joseph immediately when symptoms arise to be assured the fastest means to pain relief. The first episode is usually treated with medication specific for gout. Colcrys will work within the first day of use. This also confirms the diagnosis. If a second treatment occurs, a cortisone injection can be administered which will knock out the inflammation and pain. Sometimes long term medication is necessary to prevent further attacks. Dietary changes are also helpful to control episodes. For a list of the most common foods to avoid, visit Dr. Robyn Joseph’s website found under Pre and Post-operative Forms at DrRobynJoseph.com.

Dr. Robyn Joseph