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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Doctors at Cone Health’s Triad Foot Center in Greensboro say they see an increase is patients coming in with painful cases of gout after the holidays.

Gout is when uric acid builds up in the joints of the toes and foot and causes swelling and excruciating pain. Dr. Matthew Wagoner at Triad Foot Center says a person’s diet can often trigger an attack of gout.

“People are going to holiday parties, they are eating a little bit more, they are inside a little bit more, so typically their diet has a lot to do with it,” he said.

Wagoner says fatty meats, shellfish and alcohol can often cause uric acid to build up. He says the pain his patients feel is often unbearable.

“Gout can be extremely painful. People come in and they say they can’t even typically put a bed sheet over top of it,” he said.

Wagoner says anyone who thinks they may have gout should see a doctor immediately. While there are treatments and medications that can relieve the pain and rid your body of uric acid, he says repeated cases of gout could leave a person in pain long term.

“What happens with gout is it crystallizes in joints and can lead to pretty significant arthritis, it’s one of the most painful types of arthritis there is,” he said.