Is Ankle Gout A Common Disorder?
Ankle gout is not a particularly common disorder, though incidents of gout are more common than people may think. Gout might be considered a disease of the middle-aged man, as this is the segment of the population that experiences problems with gout most often. Women can suffer from gout as well, most likely after menopause, or those having high blood pressure of suffering from kidney disorders. Children rarely suffer from this problem, and the elderly tend to have upper body joints attacked by gout rather than joints in the lower extremities.
In the classic Katzenjammer Kids cartoon, also called The Captain and The Kids, the Captain occasionally suffered from an attack of gout, and could be seen resting his heavily bandaged foot on a stool. It was only a matter of time until one of the kids dropped an object on the bandaged foot. In an early Laurel and Hardy cartoon, the victim was Edgar Kennedy, who had his foot heavily bandaged and in a hilarious sequence lasting several minutes, Laurel and Hardy managed to step on the foot, kick the foot, drop something on the foot, and slam a car door on the foot, several times.
A Very Painful Condition - It's not quite so much of a laughing matter if one actually has an occurrence of gout. It is an arthritic condition, affect one or more joints, and can be excruciatingly painful if even the slightest pressure is applied, not to mention being hit by a car door. It is in short, an incapacitating experience, which may last for several days and then go away, perhaps to return later. The pain has sometimes been described as being comparable to childbirth. Since gout sufferers tend to be mostly men, this gives men a ready answer to the woman who says "You haven't experienced real pain until you've given birth".
There are well over one million people in the United States who suffer from gout or have suffered from it. Not too many of these people have actually suffered from ankle gout, as over 90% of all incidents of gout attacks affect the big toe. Other joints can be affected as well, but the big toe seems to be the primary target.
Ankle gout can sometimes be confused with having a broken or sprained ankle. Unlike the pain accompanying a break or sprain, gout pain is most apt to strike during the night while a person is asleep, rather than when one is up and about. The pain is the result of uric acid accumulating in the joints. When an accumulation of uric acid takes place, crystals are formed in the joint, making movement very painful. The pain will usually go away, but the uric acid remains and continues to attack the joint.
Hyperuricemia Is The Culprit - Gout, whether it is ankle gout, gout in the big toe, or gout affecting some other joint, can be controlled, and in many cases reversed. Excessive uric acid in the bloodstream, a condition called hyperuricemia, is the underlying cause of the problem. The only way gout can effectively be treated is to manage the uric acid levels in the bloodstream. If one suffers an attack of ankle gout, and the pain and swelling then goes away, the gout has not, or at least the uric acid has not. The joint will continue to be under attack, causing more frequent, and possibly more painful attacks, with the passage of time. The only way to treat this, and perhaps save the joint itself, is to treat the hyperuricemia.
Food A Factor, Not A Cause - Finally, it is a common believed that eating certain foods contributes to gout. This isn't true, as it is the uric acid that causes gout. Certain foods or diets however can trigger a gout attack indirectly, by contributing to a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. The right diet can therefore be a tool in getting uric acid levels under control.