The holiday season is definitely upon us now. This means it’s the time for many different activities, like decorating and baking, shopping and wrapping, and talking about gout.
Wait, talking about gout?
Yep, you heard that right! We need to talk about this arthritic condition during the holiday season—particularly because this is the time of year where we all face dietary temptations on a virtually daily basis.
That’s a significant consideration because gout is very much related to food and dietary choices.
Before we go further, let’s take a moment and clarify exactly what gout is and how food plays a role in this particular form of arthritis.
To start, we should clear up a common misconception – arthritis is not a single disease. The condition people typically associate with the word is actually osteoarthritis (which can be thought of as the “wear and tear” variety that develops over time). Osteoarthritis might be the most common form, but there are many types, including gout.
Essentially, gout develops in response to a byproduct of food breakdown within the body. When you eat foods or drink beverages containing substances known as purines—and most food products do contain purines (just to varying levels)—your body breaks them down and creates something called uric acid. This is completely natural, and the uric acid is typically flushed out during urination.
Problems arise, however, when either too much uric acid is produced, or the body has trouble removing it effectively. In these cases, the uric acid remains in the bloodstream, but will ultimately start settling into joints. Over time, the uric acid builds up and crystalizes. These urate crystals have sharp, pointed edges that can cause pain and irritation in soft tissues.
Most of the time, the uric acid has settled into the MTP joint at the base of the big toe. As such, symptoms are frequently experienced in the area.
Gout causes periodic flares of sharp pain, and these flares can be related to the food products you eat. As such, both a treatment and prevention practice for gout is to eat foods that are low in purines and to drink plenty of water (to flush the uric acid out of the system).
Since meats, seafood, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and beer promote high levels of uric acid that can trigger a gout attack, you need to make changes to your diet. Now, you may think that a lot of tasty options have been eliminated with those dietary restrictions, but you can use whole grains, veggies, fruit, legumes, beans, and fat-free or low-fat dairy to make delicious meals.
In some cases, you may need prescription for medication that either helps by either improving uric acid removal or blocking its production.
Turf toe is an injury wherein the ligaments in your big toe have become excessively stretched when your toe extends beyond its intended range of motion. This can happen when you plant your forefoot in the ground—often with an athletic shoe that features spikes or cleats—but the rest of your foot keeps moving forward.
That kind of motion can bend the big toe back further than it is supposed to go—and that’s a problem.
Whereas this injury is commonly associated with football and baseball, another activity that has a heightened risk for turf toe is dancing—and especially ballet. (Dancers tend to spend a lot of time on their toes.)
The most common turf toe symptoms include swelling, pain, and limited joint movement in the base of the big toe. Sometimes the condition is caused by overuse or repetitive actions, in which cases the symptoms often have a gradual onset and worsen slowly over time. When the injury is direct, symptoms are more likely to have a sudden appearance and will worsen over the following 24 hours.
No matter the cause and symptoms exhibited, it is important to come see us here at Richardson Podiatry Center for a proper evaluation and treatment.
The turf toe treatment plan we create will be based on the severity of the injury. There are basically three grades (1-3) of turf toe injuries, with Grade 3 being the most severe.
For a Grade 1 sprain, we may recommend RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), taping, and medication. Grade 2 sprains will be treated with similar methods, but also the possible use of a boot to immobilize the affected joint and an extended period of rest. When it comes to Grade 3 cases of turf toe, we will likely need to provide additional immobilization and may consider surgery (in rare instances).