GOUT – for many it throws up an unseemly image of Henry VIII gorging on rich foodstuffs before retiring to his chamber, putting his foot up, and roaring in pain.

Henry, however, is far from a realistic portrait of the average gout-stricken person. In fact, forget the stereotype, there is no average sufferer of gout. It afflicts people of all ages, all backgrounds, all builds. I have a friend who is super-fit and he suffers with chronic gout. At present, we are seeing more and more younger people afflicted by the condition. For sure, it is not an old person’s or a couch potato’s disease.

Put simply, gout is caused by a build-up of urate, itself the product of the breakdown of purines, naturally occurring chemicals in certain foods. Liver, sardines, anchovies, dried peas, beans, and oatmeal are just a few examples of foods high in purines – which just goes to show that far from every purine-rich food is unhealthy. Oily fish, for instance, has really high levels of purines. Those seeking a health kick can, if they’re not careful, find themselves unexpectedly experiencing gout.

Indeed, changes in diet can often be a spark. That’s why it’s not unusual to see people suffering from gout over the Christmas period. It’s a time when we eat foods we don’t normally touch. We might also drink less water, which can impact how well the body processes purines.

A podiatrist can not only treat the symptoms of gout – pain, redness, and swelling from urate crystals forming in and around joints – but can deliver lifestyle advice to prevent it happening again.

Sadly, however, too many people find themselves sat in A&E for hours on end or waiting for an appointment with a GP – who will only point them in the direction of a podiatrist anyway.

Much easier and quicker to see the experts in the first place – an expert who will also deliver high quality after care.

If you have suffered from gout, tell us about your experience on Feel Your Feet. We want to push for the role of podiatry in gout treatment to be given greater prominence, saving thousands unnecessary immobility and pain.




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