What are the long-term effects of leaving gout untreated?
Left unaddressed, gout is a progressive disease. Leaving gout attacks to subside or recover on its own allows uric acid crystals to accumulate within a joint. This will only lead to further attacks in the future. A rheumatologist can manage gout with the appropriate medication and podiatrists are key in offloading and reducing localised inflammation.
Over time the secondary effects of gout can come into play, with patients often developing severe bone erosions from the chronic uric acid build-up and crystal deposition into the joints. As the feet can take up to 300% of a person’s body weight daily, joint erosions can quickly advance developing secondary, painful arthritis.
If joint damage has already taken place, medication alone is insufficient to resolve the problem. There may be knock-on effects of a joint compromised by gout that cause secondary musculoskeletal pains in other areas of the foot and ankle. Podiatrists can address the resulting joint pain and deformity by adjusting the foot biomechanics, using shoe modifications and custom orthotic insoles for long-term relief.
Ultimately, a failure to properly handle uric acid in the body will result in more than joint damage. Long-term crystallization of these compounds can cause attacks of kidney stones, and blockage of the kidney filtering tubules with uric acid crystals, leading to kidney failure.