Steps to Take During a Gout Flare-Up

A gout attack is one of the most painful experiences you can have. It usually doesn’t give you much warning, and comes on suddenly. According to the National Kidney Foundation, gout is on the rise and affects more than 8 million American adults

In each of our locations in Michiganour team at Great Lakes Foot and Ankle Institute welcomes patients who are suffering from this extremely agonizing form of arthritis. Our team of knowledgeable podiatrists offer some advice for ways you can manage your gout pain during a flare-up. But first, let’s cover some general information about gout.

What is gout?

Some foods you eat have a chemical that breaks down in your body and forms something called uric acid. When your body builds up excess levels of uric acid in your blood, it results in an inflammatory form of arthritis called gout. The condition usually affects joints in your feet, especially your big toes, and is very painful. 

How to recognize when you’re having a flare-up

Gout is easy to recognize because it has these sudden and signature symptoms:

  • Excruciating, throbbing pain
  • Swelling in your big toe
  • Heat in your big toe
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Sore, achy joints
  • Limited movement and function

How long does a flare-up last?

Typically, the pain and discomfort that accompanies your gout flare-up lasts anywhere from 5-10 days. The first 2-3 days are usually the worst, so it’s important to be equipped with information that helps you head off the pain before it becomes debilitating.

Steps to care for yourself during a gout attack

There are some steps you can take at home to help ease the pain of gout, encourage kidney function, and lower the levels of uric acid that’s triggering and worsening your flare-up:

  • Increase your fluids, especially water
  • Don’t resist the urge to urinate
  • Rest, elevate, and ice your painful joints
  • Take an anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Use epsom salt soaks
  • Take any prescribed medicines that decrease your uric acid levels
  • Eat foods and supplements that lower uric acid, such as magnesium, sour cherries, ginger, and celery
  • Stay away from alcohol, shellfish, and red meat, which cause your body to make uric acid

Help from your podiatrist during a gout attack

If your gout flare-up is so painful that you’re having trouble being productive, please come see us at one of our convenient locations. We understand how painful gout is and work with you to provide immediate relief, while also taking measures to prevent future flare-ups. Some of the treatment options we offer include:

  • Corticosteroids injections or pills
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Nutrition counseling

In severe cases when medication doesn’t help your symptoms, you may need a surgical procedure to eliminate uric acid crystals that accumulate in your affected joint. 

Partner with us to prevent gout or treat a flare-up. Call one of our offices in Chesterfield, Clinton Township, Fort Gratiot, East China Township, Shelby Township, or Rochester, Michigan or click to quickly book online.