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Do I Have An Ingrown Nail Or Gout?


So you're having pain in your big or great toe, and wondering, "Is this Gout, or is this an ingrown nail?" Here are some key differences between the two conditions.


  • Ingrown toenail pain is usually at the corner or side of your big toenail. Typically, you will see your big toenail curving into the skin of your big toe, with redness or swelling at the tip of your toe common. Gout on the other hand attacks the joint of your big toe. Extreme pain, along with redness and swelling are seen at the big toe joint and even the whole foot.



What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis. Gout happens because the body can't get rid of a natural compound that our bodies make, called uric acid, properly. Uric acid is a waste product when the body breaks done purines. These purines are found naturally in our body, but also in certain foods. When uric acid builds up, it then can make crystals, and eventually deposit in and around joints, causing extreme pain, swelling, and inflammation. Gout is more common in men.



Causes of Gout:

Several factors can increase your risk of developing gout. These include:


  1. Diet: Foods rich in purines, such as red meat, seafood, and alcohol, can increase the level of urate in the blood, increasing your risk of developing gout, or having a future gout attack.


2. Genetics: A family history of gout can increase the risk of developing gout in the future.


3. Obesity: Being overweight or obese can lead to higher levels of urate in the blood, and therefore increases your chances of developing gout, or having more gout attacks in the future.


4. Certain medications: Some medications, such as diuretics and low-dose aspirin, can increase urate levels and increase your risk of developing gout.



Symptoms of Gout:

The key symptom of gout is extreme joint pain. This pain is usually very sudden, without warning, and very intense. Other symptoms of gout can include swelling redness, warmth, and less motion at the joint under attack by gout, or these symptoms can be seen across multiple joints.



How Do I Know If I Have Gout?

Because gout is a type of arthritis, changes to your bones and joints can be seen by x-ray. The most accurate way to diagnose gout would be through a minor procedure called joint aspiration.


In joint aspiration, the skin and surrounding area are numbed, and then a needle is placed into a joint in your foot. Fluid is taken from the joint and sent to a lab. If uric acid crystals are seen under a microscope then we know for certain that you have gout.



Treatment Options for Gout:

While gout cannot be cured, there are treatment options available to manage symptoms and prevent future attacks:


1.Medications: NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help lower pain and inflammation during gout attacks.


Colchicine, a medication that lowers inflammation is key in treating a gout attack.


Steroids can also be prescribed to help with the pain and swelling from gout.


2. Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet and lifestyle can help lower the amount of gout attacks you have, as well as decreases the severity of future gout attacks. This includes avoiding foods high in purines, staying hydrated, limiting how much you drink, and maintaining a healthy weight.


3. Medications to lower urate levels: For people who have many gout attacks, or have high levels of uric acid in their body, medications like allopurinol can be prescribed to lower uric acid levels, which can prevent the formation of uric acid crystals, and also a future gout attack.


4. Joint aspiration: Joint aspiration is the most accurate way to diagnose gout, but can also be used to relieve pain during a gout attack by removing excess fluid from the joint. \


Gout is a painful type of arthritis. Even though there is no definitive cure, gout has several treatment options which can be key during an active gout attack, or to manage future attacks in the future. Being mindful of certain lifestyle changes, along with prescription medications, can see someone experiencing less and less severe gout attacks over time. If you experience symptoms of gout, like sudden joint pain and swelling, it's important to speak with a foot doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment.



What Is an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is when your toenail grows into the skin and soft tissue of your toe. Signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail can include redness, drainage, swelling, or pain at the nail in question.  In cases of severe infection, you can start to experience fever or chills. toenails most commonly affect the big toe, but ingrown toenails can be seen with any toenail. The symptoms of an ingrown toenail are usually mild in the beginning, but can become more severe and constant if the ingrown nail isn't dealt with.


Treatment Options For An Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail can be very painful if the issue isn't corrected in a timely fashion. Treatment options for ingrown toenails include:


  1. Ingrown Toenail Surgery

Ingrown toenail surgery or removal is a procedure done to remove the ingrown portion of a toenail. Your toe will be cleaned, numbed, an the ingrown part of the nail cut away, all the way back to the root. More often than not, a chemical is used to burn the root of this removed part of your toenail, so that the ingrown doesn't keep coming back.


2. Onyfix

For those people who are looking to avoid surgery, or simply aren't candidates to have their ingrown removed surgically, Onyfix is an option.


Onyfix is an FDA-approved nail correction system. The Onyfix band is placed at the base of your nail, and as your nail grows out, the band forces your nail to grow straighter, slowly overtime correcting the ingrown.



Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona Today

Whether you are concerned about Gout or an Ingrown nail, a Podiatrist or foot doctor can diagnose and treat either problem. If you would like to book an appointment with me at Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe, AZ click here to view appointment dates and times.


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