Take care of your feet if suffering from gout
Your feet have about 26 bones and a complex framework of muscles, ligaments and tendons. With every step you take, your feet absorb the full impact of your full body weight keeping you upright and balanced.
Did you know that the health of your feet can be indicative of your overall health? Having stiff joints can indicate arthritis, tingling or numbness could mean you have diabetes. Swollen feet can mean kidney disease or heart disease. It is very important to have healthy feet. Your feet are the foundation of your body after all.
Suffering from gout can cause all kinds of complications if one is not careful and one thing’s for sure, you want to keep your feet healthy and strong. I bring this up cause a recent study indicates that gout sufferers aged 45 and older are more likely compared to those that don’t have gout, to have lower but not upper extremity dysfunction. They are more likely to walk slower than average for their age.
The study also showed that those who suffer from hyperuricemia, had also poor performance in the lower extremities as in their feet. The way the researchers measured lower extremity function included repeated chair stands, standing and balancing, and a 4-meter walk test. This study should wake us up to the fact that we can suffer a similar fate, if we fail to keep our feet healthy and strong as much as we can.
The importance of healthy feet
People with diabetes also have this issue where they need to take care of their feet. Diabetes often causes problems with feet and legs. It can get so severe that it can result in getting their leg or foot amputated. Among those diabetes sufferers aged 45 years or more are at ten times more risk of losing a leg or foot to amputation compared to people without diabetes. Those suffering from gout and diabetes should be very careful.
What happens is that over many years of gout attacks in the big toe and other areas of your feet, your foot or leg slowly wears and tears, slowly breaking down. Blood flow is also reduced which makes it harder for your body to heal from injuries.
Potential symptoms that you can experience with your feet include feeling a tingle, burn or hurt, foot odor, the skin of your feet can become dry and/or cracked (which I’ve experienced), you may experience a fungus infection such as athlete’s foot that can appear in between your toes or have fungus in your nails (like I do presently and fighting it off with my podiatrist), you may not feel cold or heat very well losing your sense of touch, the color and the temperature of your feet may change, as well as your foot’s shape. All these symptoms will obviously slow you down and limit your mobility.
A few tips is to always to examine your feet on a daily basis usually after a bath or shower. Wash your feet daily, dry them with care especially in between your toes and trim your toenails. A good pair of shoes will go a long way, believe me, I always splurge to have comfy shoes. It makes a world of difference since I suffer from gout. Make sure your shoes fit properly and not be tight on you. And women forget the high heels!
If your feet sweat a lot like mine do, I suggest a pair of Geox shoes that have tiny holes in them that let your feet breathe. Always buy shoes in the evening since your foot expands during the day and is biggest in the afternoon.
I recently discover Asics shoes and I gotta tell you, they offer the best support for your feet. A bit pricey but so worth it!
At home I can’t walk without my Crocs. Provides me with great comfort and a good cushion. Use a moisturizer like cocoa butter if you suffer from cracked or dry skin. Then put a pair of comfortable cotton socks on and go to sleep. Then in the morning you’ll notice your feet feel much softer. I’ve been told this works very well with Vaseline too.
Regardless, if you are suffering from a gout attack, it doesn’t matter what footwear you wear, it will not improve your pain and inflammation according to a 2019 study.
Exercise can help increase your feet’s circulation. Nothing will help your feet more than a simple walk every day. This might seem counterintuitive since walking puts stress on your feet but you can’t really lift weights with your foot muscles can you?
So the best way to exercise them and keep those muscles strong is by walking. It also increases foot strength and flexibility. Make sure to speak to your doctor if you experience any pain, redness or any other foot problem after exercising. Check out these 5 exercises for stronger and more flexible feet from fitness educator Stacey Lei Krauss that only takes 5 minutes a day.
In conclusion, good foot care and regular foot checkups with your podiatrist or doctor are an important part of your health care as a gout sufferer. Take care of your feet!
Posted by Spiro Koulouris