Gout foot pain is characterized by sudden swelling, redness and severe pain in the big toe. The condition develops due to crystallization of uric acid in the joint space. Medications such as Allopurinol which reduces the build-up of uric acid in the blood and pain killers such as Ibuprofen which provide symptomatic relief from pain are usually prescribed to patients with this condition. However, for effective long term pain management and to reduce the intensity and frequency of the episodes of gout foot pain certain changes in diet and lifestyle are advocated. These are:
- Eliminating foods which contain high fructose corn syrup as it causes the production of uric acid in the body predisposing it to attacks of acute gout foot pain.
- Avoiding alcohol as it reduces elimination of uric acid from the kidneys. All types of alcohol have been associated with acute exacerbations.
- Reducing intake of protein rich foods like sea food, organ meat, and vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, and asparagus. Most protein rich foods contain purines which are metabolized to uric acid.
- Include cherries, bananas, and strawberries in your diet. They are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants which help in combating inflammation.
- Drinking adequate water will ensure elimination of uric acid from the kidneys.
- Regular exercise will help in faster recovery from attacks of gout foot pain as it helps to build stronger bones, muscles, and joints. Moreover, it will help to maintain ideal body weight.
A few simple steps could help to ease pain and swelling during flare up of gout foot pain. These are;
- Reducing heat by immersing the foot in cold water for 15 minutes. Avoid direct ice packs for a long duration, as they can precipitate uric acid crystals.
- Elevating the foot to reduce the swelling.
- Taking over the counter medication like Advil to manage the pain. Never take Aspirin as it may worsen the symptoms.
- Keep drinking water during the attack to flush out excess uric acid.
Contact a doctor as soon as possible as early treatment during an attack will reduce the duration and severity of gout foot pain.