Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis, has troubled people for hundreds of years. Although there is no cure, a doctor can help you effectively manage the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. If your symptoms persist despite lifestyle and dietary changes, corticosteroid injections can be used to relieve inflammation and pain.
At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our team of experienced pain medicine doctors can help control gout discomfort with safe, effective cortisone injections.
Understanding gout attacks
Gout is the most common form of arthritis, affecting populations around the globe and throughout history. It is caused by hyperuricemia, or a buildup of uric acid in the body. This causes crystals to form in the joints, particularly the big toe.
These crystals cause inflammation within the joint, leading to:
- Intense joint pain, especially in the big toe
- Swelling, redness, and tenderness
- Discomfort, even after the flare-up subsides
- Stiffness and decreased range of motion
The high levels of uric acid also put you at risk of kidney stones, another painful condition caused by crystallization.
Building your treatment plan
The only definitive treatment for gout itself is urate-lowering therapy. This includes reducing your intake of purines, which are found in red meat and organs, along with seafood like sardines, anchovies, and tuna. Alcohol and soda are also common culprits in gout flare-ups, because of the high amount of fructose.
You must also manage other health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. If you take diuretics, it is recommended that you discuss switching or stopping medications.
Unfortunately, many patients with gout do not follow the guidelines given by their doctor and often experience recurring flare-ups. Left unmanaged, these can eventually worsen into gouty arthritis and growths called tophi.
Remission from gout can last for months or years, but even if you do everything right, it can always flare up again. If you’re struggling to manage your symptoms despite your best efforts, cortisone injections can help.
Cortisone injections for gout
Cortisone injections contain a synthesized form of cortisol, a hormone your body makes naturally, and a small amount of anesthetic. These medications help reduce inflammation and stiffness, alleviating pain and increasing your range of motion. Though they don’t treat the gout itself, they do treat the symptoms.
You can receive anywhere from three to four shots per year, depending on how often you flare up and the severity of your pain. If you have diabetes, make sure you discuss the use of corticosteroids like cortisone with your physician team, as steroids can cause spikes in blood glucose.
Struggling with gout? Schedule a consultation with the team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine to see if cortisone injections can help you. Just call 201-201-0443, request an appointment online, or fill out our contact form.