Do you find our website to be helpful?
Yes   No
Skip to main content

Does Gout Only Affect the Big Toe?

Does Gout Only Affect the Big Toe?

Stereotypical presentations in popular culture of someone who suffers from gout usually depict a large, overweight, middle-aged man with one foot wrapped in a cast. From a broad perspective, that’s pretty accurate; you’re more likely to get gout if you’re man, postmenopausal woman, or are middle-aged.

But gout is a form of arthritis that can affect more than the joint of your big toe. And while being a man who eats rich foods is a risk factor for gout, you can get it no matter what your economic class or gender.

Our expert rheumatologists at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey diagnose and treat all forms of arthritis and joint pain, including gout. Here’s what you need to know about this misunderstood form of arthritis. 

Gout is selective

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, chances are you feel pain and stiffness in multiple joints. In fact, it’s not unusual for all of your joints to be inflamed and impaired.

But gout is different. Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when your body contains too much uric acid. The excess uric acid collects in one or more joints and solidifies into crystals. The crystals are sharp and painful, causing needle-like jabs of pain in affected joints.

The only good news about gout is that the uric acid crystals — for reasons unknown — tend to accumulate in just one joint at a time. Usually, that’s the big toe. But you can also get gout in your:

When you have gout, you may experience sharp and excruciating pain in the afflicted joint. The joint may also be red, swollen, and hot.

Gout is no laughing matter

Gout is often used to comically depict a character’s frailty or privilege. In the 2018 film “The Favourite,” Olivia Coleman’s Queen Anne is confined to a wheelchair and subjected to bizarre raw meat treatments for her gout. 

More than 100 years previously, a villain in a short 1917 Charlie Chaplin film called “The Cure” got his gout-ridden foot caught in a revolving door. 

But gout is excruciatingly painful and not funny at all when you suffer an attack. Gout also doesn’t limit itself to afflicting the rich. In fact, the foods that make up the standard American diet are filled with a substance called purines, which can cause excess uric acid to build up in your body.

Do you have gout?

If you have one or more painful, swollen, hot joints from your knee down to your toes, you could have gout. You’re more likely to develop gout if you eat a diet rich in purines. Foods that contain excessive purines include:

Cutting out purine-rich foods and replacing them with fresh vegetables and fruits may reduce the pain of gout and prevent flares. Consider filling at least half of your plate with fresh vegetables and fruits at every meal. 

Drinking plenty of water each day also helps wash away excess uric acid and prevents it from collecting in your joints.

Get help with gout

Left untreated, gout can destroy your joints. If you have chronically high levels of uric acid in your body, you’re also at risk for trophi (hard mineral deposits under your skin) and kidney stones. In fact, untreated gout raises your risk for serious conditions, including:

Because gout may mimic other inflammatory diseases, the first step toward controlling your gout starts with a definitive diagnosis. 

Once we determine the source of your joint pain, we design a treatment and management plan that may include dietary changes as well as anti-inflammatory medications to treat gout flares.

If you suspect your painful joint is the result of gout or another form of arthritis, call us for a consultation today. You may also request an appointment using our online tool. Our offices are located in Somerville, Flemington, and Monroe, New Jersey.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Should I Get IV Vitamin Therapy?

When Should I Get IV Vitamin Therapy?

You get your vitamins from food. You get your vitamins from supplements. But you’ve heard that intravenous (IV) vitamin cocktails are popular with celebrities and anti-aging enthusiasts. How are they different? Should you get an IV drip, too?
What Can I Do to Prevent Osteoporosis?

What Can I Do to Prevent Osteoporosis?

Although osteoporosis affects women more often than it affects men, all aging people are at risk for thinning, brittle bones that raise your chances for fractures. The sooner you address your bone health, the more you can prevent osteoporosis.
5 Problems That Botox Can Improve

5 Problems That Botox Can Improve

If thinking about Botox® makes you frown, you have the right idea: Botox erases dynamic wrinkles, like frown lines. But Botox can do so much more than tame the expressive wrinkles on your upper face. It can improve your quality of life.
How Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Made?

How Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Made?

When you hear that platelet-rich plasma, made from your own blood, might alleviate your arthritis pain, you’re intrigued. How can a therapy that comes from your body help your body? It’s pretty simple. Here’s how it’s done.
Yes, You Can Remove Hair THERE

Yes, You Can Remove Hair THERE

It’s almost time to don your bathing suit. You’ve lost the muffin top, but still spill out … along the edges of your bikini bottom. You don’t have to shave or use a depilatory. Get rid of the hair, there, for good. Start now to be ready for summer.