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Gout is an arthritic problem that predominantly involves the big toe or bunion joint.

Gout is the result of joint inflammation that results from crystals of uric acid falling-out into the joint. Gout usually only affects one joint at a time, mostly the big toe or bunion joint. The swollen joint becomes red and inflamed and is generally very painful. Patients may have difficulty putting weight on the foot or wearing any shoe at all. At times, the imflammation may be severe and appear much like an infection or cellulitis.

Men most commonly experience gout and women after menopause. Alcohol consumption, particularly beer, may lead to gout attacks. Drugs such as aspirin and thiazide diuretics (often prescribed for high blood pressure - hydrochlorthiazide) also may lead to gout.

Treatment includes rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Almost any of the NSAIDs may be used, but Indomethacin has been the traditional one selected. Colchicine, although an older drug, is still useful. At times, local injections are very helpful. Medication to lower blood levels of uric acid (Allopurinol or Uloric) may be necessary to avoid repeated attacks and joint damage but should not be instituted during an acute attack. Your doctor will advise you.