Natural Gout Relief: Home Remedies to Try
Anyone experiencing a gout attack or flare-up wants to know one thing: The fastest way to stop the pain in its tracks.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that most commonly affects tissues and joints in the lower extremities, where symptoms may include redness, swelling, tenderness, and pain. Caused by a build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream—a normal by-product of the metabolic process—pain results when excess uric acid crystallizes and collects in a joint’s soft tissues. Though gout can affect any joint, it most often occurs in big toes, feet, ankles, and knees. Symptoms—which may also include mild fever and joints that feel warm to the touch—can last for a couple of days and sometimes weeks. Typically, the worst of the pain occurs at the outset of an attack.
Though most gout attacks will resolve after a week or two even without treatment, prescription anti-inflammatory medications can greatly speed the healing process and reduce pain. This means that if you have been previously diagnosed with gout, and recognize the symptoms of a gout attack, you should act quickly and take your doctor-prescribed medication.
Experts agree that starting treatment immediately is the first line of defense in managing a flare-up. Of course, sometimes you may not have a prescription on hand, it may be your first attack, or it may be the middle of the night and you have awakened experiencing pain and inflammation. Here’s what to do until you can speak with a doctor.
Four Tips for Natural Gout Relief
- Prop it up
Elevate the affected area to ease swelling. This can be as simple as placing a pillow or two under your foot, or leg, if your knee is affected. Note that your foot should be raised higher than your chest while in a prone position. To speed the healing process, it is also a good idea to stay off your feet as much as possible while experiencing symptoms.
- Cool it off
Ice or cold packs can help decrease inflammation and relieve a swollen area, particularly if the joint feels warm or is radiating heat. Apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area intermittently, preferably while the joint is elevated. (See above!)
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
In lieu of a prescription, try an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain reliever such as ibuprofen. Note: Avoid taking aspirin which can actually aggravate gout symptoms.
In order to flush uric acid from your system, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of H20. It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol or sweetened drinks like soda and fruit juice. Though sugar and alcohol may sound tempting when in pain, they may do more to aggravate gout symptoms than relieve them.
Look to the Experts
The internet swirls with content touting herbal remedies for gout relief. Much has been written about avoiding high-purine foods like red meat, shellfish, high-fructose corn syrup, and alcohol to reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood. There are also sites aplenty promoting supplements like turmeric, or the benefits of drinking natural cherry juice and even skim milk. While maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are always a good idea, evidence about the effectiveness of supplements, diets and natural remedies is scant. Before making major changes that involve ingesting supplements or eliminating foods you love, consult your physician about the treatment options for you.
To schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists, click here or call 336-375-6990.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.