Got gout? If so, we have a recommendation for surviving the holidays: Watch what you eat and drink.

Changes in diet, including overindulging in certain foods and beverages, can cause gout attacks this time of year, says Taral Shah, DPM. Dr. Shah is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) with offices in Sewell, Mt. Holly, Cherry HillMarlton, and Glassboro.

Gout attacks are extremely painful. They are caused when uric acid accumulates in the tissues of a joint and crystallizes. This most commonly occurs in the big toe joint. Dr. Shah explains this is because the toe is the coolest part of the body and uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes.

She says foods that are high in purines contribute to uric acid build-up. She recommends that people prone to gout attacks avoid purine-rich items such as shellfish (shrimp, crab, etc.), organ meats (kidney, liver, etc.), red meat, red wine, and beer.

Gout can be treated with medications, diet changes, increasing consumption of appropriate fluids, and immobilizing the foot. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the uric acid crystals and repair the joint. For more information on gout, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site,, or contact Dr. Shah’s office at 856-582-6082 or request an appointment online.

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