Gout is a painful condition that can flare up quickly, and the pain can linger for days or weeks. A type of arthritis, it is characterized by high levels of uric acid, which leads to the accumulation of urate crystals at the base of a joint. This accumulation causes the joint to swell and redden with inflammation, and it frequently occurs in the feet and legs, especially the big toes. Finger gout happens when this pain and swelling occurs in a finger joint, and the symptoms are the same type of inflammation, redness and swelling, plus a similar severe pain that is sometimes described as fiery.
Causes of finger gout include the production of too much uric acid by the body, and the body’s decreased ability to rid itself of uric acid. Foods that can cause gout include asparagus, anchovies and organ meats such as kidneys and liver. These foods have certain substances called purines, which are normally found in the body and also in certain types of food. Too much of them will increase the amount of uric acid in the body. Other foods that are high in purines include oil-packed sardines, mushrooms, legumes, cauliflower, spinach and gravies. Beer and other types of alcohol also should be avoided.
Prescription medication can be helpful in treating finger gout, and some foods also can be helpful in fighting a finger gout attack. Dark-colored berries, for example, tend to lower uric acid levels. Berries also may help fight inflammation, as will olive oil and salmon. A diet that includes lots of water or other fluids is also helpful. It is recommended that people who suffer from attacks of gout, including finger gout, should try to maintain a healthy weight.
Certain conditions can increase the likelihood that a person will develop gout, including high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. Some diuretics prescribed for high blood pressure can cause higher uric acid levels, leading to gout. Having a relative who suffers from gout also can raise a person’s chances of acquiring gout.
A person who experiences gout once may experience recurrent gout. Not everyone who has a gout attack will suffer with repeated episodes. People with gout also may be prone to kidney stones because urate crystals can collect in the urinary tract.