When you have gout, you never know when the next attack will occur. You can go months or years without an attack. But, when it comes, the event can be all-consuming.
For the more than 9 million people with gout in the United States (nearly 4% of the adult population), managing the condition is paramount — both during an attack and between flare-ups.
And that’s where we come in. Our foot team experts at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle have extensive experience helping our patients navigate this painful form of arthritis. Below, we review four treatments that provide relief.
1. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
When you’re in a gout attack, you want to quickly relieve the pain and inflammation. That’s where nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help. These medications alleviate your pain and reduce the inflammation in your big toe joint.
The good news is that you can find NSAIDs in your local pharmacy, and you don’t need a prescription. Since gout attacks can be unpredictable, we suggest you always have a bottle in your medicine cabinet.
2. Corticosteroid medications
If NSAIDs fall short of relieving the pain and inflammation in your toe during a gout attack, we can go to the next step up — corticosteroid medications. The steroids in these medications are powerful for reducing swelling. They also include an analgesic for pain relief.
We administer an injection directly into your toe joint or give you a prescription for oral corticosteroids,
3. Medications that lower uric acid
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up, creating sharp, crystal-like structures in your joints. If you want to prevent a gout attack, another approach is through medications that control uric acid buildup. These medications reduce uric acid levels in your body by controlling its production or speeding up how your body processes the acid.
4. Alter your diet
One of the best ways to manage your gout is to treat it through your diet. Your body produces uric acid in response to foods with high amounts of purines, such as red meats, organ meats, alcohol (especially beer), and shellfish.
So, a good way to avoid a gout attack is to limit your intake of high-purine foods and add more healthy foods to your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It’s also essential to hydrate with water and avoid sugary sodas. For more gout-friendly diet ideas, click here.
Between your efforts at home and our treatments when you have an attack, there are ways to reduce the impact of gout to stay pain-free.
To learn which treatments are best for your gout and for more lifestyle tips to help manage this form of arthritis, please contact one of our 14 locations in Tennessee to sit down with a foot health specialist.