Why does my gout flare up?

Gout flare-ups happen due to a spike in uric acid in the bloodstream. Elevated uric acid levels can cause crystals to form, and those crystals deposit themselves on joint surfaces. The result is pain, often intense, and often localized at the big toe.

What causes uric acid levels to spike? It could be many things, but one of the most common is diet. Foods that are high in purines, such as most meats (especially game and organ meats), most alcohol (especially beer), high-fat dairy, overly processed grains, and many types of seafood, produce plentiful quantities of uric acid when digested.

Other risk factors that often lead to higher-than-normal levels of uric acid in the bloodstream include high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, family history, and certain medications.

Although there’s no “cure” for gout, the condition is very treatable and very manageable—you just may need to make a few diet or lifestyle adjustments and have the discipline to stick with them. For help treating an ongoing case, or learning how to prevent future attacks, contact Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today. You can reach our office online, or by calling 512-593-2949.