Arthritis comes in many different types, including a disease known as gout. Gout attacks cause uric acid buildups that affect a person's joints and cause multiple symptoms that may cause extreme movement limitations and other concerns. These issues may cause serious athletic performance issues that may worsen without the help of a rheumatologist and other professionals.
How a Rheumatologist Helps With Gout
Gout's painful symptoms can make athletic competition very difficult before visiting a rheumatologist. These symptoms include sudden pain during the night, tenderness on the affected joint, along with stiffness and swelling that could make using the affected joint close to impossible for an athlete. They may experience these random attacks during a game and find themselves limping off the field.
A rheumatologist starts treatment by diagnosing the severity of a person's gout, examining where it originates, and deciding what triggered it. Athletes with gout may have poor diets that worsen their attacks, such as those who eat a lot of meat before a competition to improve their protein intake before a game. These protein-heavy diets may provide some athletic boosts, making them fairly common for athletes.
However, meat-heavy diets may increase uric acid production and cause increased gout attacks that may be hard for many many athletes to handle. As a result, athletes may end up taking nonprescription medications during a gout attack to help minimize its severity. For example, they may take medications before a big tournament and minimize the severity of their symptoms or eliminate them entirely.
For some athletes, lifestyle changes and occasional prescription medications may be all they need. Their rheumatologist may also increase their water intake, minimize their alcohol intake, and provide regular physical therapy that helps to minimize this pain. Physical therapy may include stretching exercises before big events that help decrease an athlete's gout symptoms.
Athletes with more severe symptoms may frequently visit their rheumatologist for various prescription medications. These include medications that decrease inflammation and minimize uric acid production. Any athlete concerned with their gout should get a note from their rheumatologist that explains their medication. Sharing this not with their coach and competitive league officials may minimize confusion.
Just as importantly, athletes with gout symptoms may want to regularly visit their rheumatologist for checkups to see if symptoms or arthritis issues have spread any further. Arthritis symptoms may develop slowly, and athletes may not notice their increasing intensity for many years. Tracking their symptom development may make it easier to try preventative treatments that minimize an athlete's arthritis and keep them from retiring early as a result.
For more information, contact a rheumatologist near you.