When thinking about food and health, weight and heart health may come to mind way before feet. But what you eat affects every part of your body, including your feet. This is especially true for people with gout, a very painful form of arthritis that usually affects the joint at the big toe.
At Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bradenton, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida, our board-certified podiatrists provide comprehensive care for all types of foot and ankle problems like gout.
Read on to learn more about gout and how what you eat may trigger the painful flare-ups.
Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that causes swelling, inflammation, and pain in your joints. The inflammation is from sharp uric acid crystals that settle in the joint.
Uric acid is a byproduct of purines, a type of chemical naturally found in the body and in food. Your kidneys pull uric acid from the blood and get rid of it in your urine.
For most people, uric acid is harmless. However, if your kidneys are unable to remove enough uric acid from the blood or your body makes too much, levels build up. When you have too much uric acid in the blood, it crystallizes. The sharp, tiny crystals settle in the joints, causing sudden and severe swelling and pain — or what’s called a gout attack.
Gout usually only affects one joint at a time, most often the joint in the big toe, for a duration of up to two weeks. Gout attacks also tend to occur without warning and can occur frequently when left untreated.
Foods high in purines
Preventing a gout attack is part of the treatment plan for gout. Doctors prescribe medications that help lower uric acid levels. But we also suggest limiting foods high in purines to help manage gout, such as:
- Red meat
- Organ meats like liver, kidneys, and sweetbread
- Sardines and anchovies
- Beer and distilled liquor
You may also want to curb your intake of foods with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) such as soft drinks, fruit-based snacks, candy, and condiments like ketchup. When the body breaks down fructose, it forms purines.
What to eat for feet
For foot health, we recommend eating a balanced diet filled with an array of healthy foods. Though you may need to limit some foods, you can safely eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, poultry, low-fat dairy foods, and healthy fats like vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Adding some foods may help your gout and your feet. Cherries, for example, may reduce gout attacks. Foods high in vitamin C (oranges, peppers, and tomatoes) may lower uric acid levels. You also want to drink plenty of water to help flush out the uric acid.
A few tweaks to your diet can go a long way towards warding off painful and debilitating gout attacks.
If you’re having a hard time managing your gout, we’re happy to sit down with you and come up with a treatment plan. We can also provide treatment to help lessen the severity and duration of a gout attack. Call our office or book an appointment online. We can also provide treatment for an acute gout attack.