Gout in Foot, Ankle or Knee – 6 Ways to Handle an Attack

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Those of you who suffer from recurrent bouts of gout in foot, knees, or ankles are well aware of the intensity of pain this type of inflammatory arthritis can create. Even if you are taking regular medication to reduce the frequency of your flare-ups, most gout sufferers will still experience occasional gout symptoms in one or more joints.
Asking your doctor which treatment options are best for you prepares you for when an attack does occur. Prompt treatment helps to relieve the symptoms more rapidly, allowing you to return to your normal lifestyle.

Learn How to Relieve the Pain of Gout Before Flare-Ups Occur

While not an inclusive list, when dealing with gout in foot, ankles, or knees, the following 6 ways to handle an attack may minimize painful symptoms:

1. Take a full dose of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or a prescription version if you have it.

NSAIDs are generally very effective at relieving the pain of gout in people that can tolerate these medications, as they reduce the inflammation causing the pain in your joint(s). It is important that you do not take aspirin to deal with gout, as it may actually increase painful symptoms by raising the level of uric acid in your bloodstream responsible for flare-ups.

2. For people who cannot tolerate NSAIDs, or if they prove ineffective, colchicine can serve as an alternative medication.

Unlike anti-inflammatory therapies, colchicine works by interrupting the natural processes responsible for the swelling inherent in gout. Colchicine can be used at low doses as a preventative for gout in foot, ankles, or knees, or at higher doses during times of flare up.

3. You can use cold packs or cold compresses to reduce the swelling in your painful joint(s).

Keep the joint iced for 20-30 minutes per session, repeating the process as frequently as you can throughout the day. Although the relief may be short-lived, you may be impressed by how effective cold therapy can be at relieving pain and inflammation.

4. Rest the painful joint(s) as much as possible during a flare up.

Do not allow the joint to contact clothing or bed sheets, as even the slightest touch can be extremely painful. Placing the affected leg or foot up on a pillow may make the pain more tolerable.

5. Increase the amount of water you drink and decrease your intake of alcohol, most meats and fish.

The objective is to reduce the uric acid that is present in your body and responsible for inflammation. Many types of meats and seafood products, as well as alcohol (beer in particular), are high in purines, which are then broken down into uric acid within the body. By reducing or eliminating these items from your diet and simultaneously drinking large amounts of water to help flush your system, your flare up should subside more quickly. Many gout sufferers are able to reduce the frequency of attacks by keeping their purine intake low.

6. When the above methods of dealing with gout in foot, ankles or knees or other joints prove ineffective, call your doctor.

He or she may opt to give you an injection of corticosteroids (or a prescription for an oral version) which can often reduce the inflammation rapidly. Steroid medications have significant side effects and should not be used on a long term basis. For occasional, intense flare ups of gout, however, they do typically provide relief from even severe pain when nothing else is effective.

Begin Treating a Flare-Up As Soon As Possible

Regardless of which method you use to control flare-ups of gout in foot, ankles, or knees, the sooner you begin treatment, the sooner your symptoms are likely to pass. People who have suffered from gout for years are often able to detect an upcoming flare up before it becomes severe. By taking your gout medication at the first moment you feel a flare up approaching, you may be able to reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms. Talk to your doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment program for gout that includes prevention through medication and diet, as well as an appropriate plan of action when flare ups do occur.