Gout is a name for a certain kind of joint inflammation. Some people have excess uric acid in their bloodstreams, and this uric acid can form crystals that collect in joints. The most common joint affected is the joint at the base of the big toe, but gout can affect many different joints. Fingers, wrists, and elbows are common sites in the arm.
A gout "attack" or "flare" can involve sudden pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and/or loss of motion of a joint. Gout symptoms can mimic infection, so it is a good idea to have this checked out if you are concerned.
Gout treatments include splints for comfort, anti-inflammatories, certain prescription medications, cortisone injections, and rarely, surgery.
Gout was once described as a "disease of kings" because it seemed to be related to diets that included certain rich foods. Gout is thought to be more common in people who have a variety of medical conditions and/or who are taking certain medications. A family or personal history of gout also can increase your chances of having episodes.
Dietary changes can make a big difference. Foods to limit because they seem to increase gout attacks are red meat, kidney, liver, tripe, tongue, fish roe, scallops, shellfish, lentils, beans, peas, and alcohol.
Foods that seem to benefit those who suffer from gout include cherries (and cherry juice), celery, strawberries, avocados, blueberries and grapes.
There are several herbs and supplements that might be helpful; consult a physician or nutritionist for up to date information about helping with gout.