9 Tips for Coping With Gout Pain

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Wyatt Myers on May 28, 2021
  • doctor or nurse pointing to swollen foot and ankle with gout; bandage covering ankle sore from large tophus
    Attack of the Gout
    A gout attack is extremely unpleasant. The pain and swelling can be so bad that it will wake you in the middle of the night. Your foot can become so sensitive that even the softest touch can be too much. However, you can take steps to ease the pain and make the attack more bearable. You also can make long-term lifestyle changes that can reduce the chances of having future gout attacks.
  • Pain Relievers
    Take a Pain Reliever
    Most doctors urge you to use an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) as a first step to ease the pain of a gout attack. These include drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. You do not need a prescription to buy them. NSAIDs can reduce pain and swelling fairly quickly. Gout pain is known to last up to 10 days, but taking an NSAID within the first 24 hours often shortens the duration. These drugs do have side effects though, so discuss these with your doctor before using them on your own.
  • Ice Pack
    Apply Ice
    Putting an ice pack on the achy, swollen joint is the next thing to do. This can help control the pain and swelling. However, don’t put ice directly on your skin. Instead, wrap the ice or ice pack in a towel. It’s best to use the ice for just 20 minutes at a time. Take a break, and then ice the joint again.
  • senior feet
    Elevate the Foot
    Another easy step is to prop your painful foot on pillows while lying down. If you're sitting, make sure to raise your foot above your heart. This can help ease the pain and swelling. Also, you might want to apply ice while your foot is elevated. It makes for a good one-two punch for pain relief.
  • sleeping man
    Get Some Rest
    You need to rest while gout pain is present. A lot of movement will only make the pain worse. It helps to have a support system of friends and family to help you when a gout attack occurs. Having someone to run errands, pick up prescriptions, refill your ice packs, or even cook for you can be a lifesaver in these situations.
  • senior man drinking from glass of water
    Drink Plenty of Fluids
    Too much uric acid in your body leads to gout, and drinking water helps flush uric acid from your system. So, drink water often. That extra fluid may also help provide the extra bit of relief you need when symptoms are present. Not all fluids are good for gout, however. Stay away from alcohol and sugary drinks, which can make things worse.
  • Senior Man Talking with Doctor
    Talk With Your Doctor
    Schedule an appointment to see a doctor as soon as you think you have had a gout attack. The doctor may prescribe pain medication if you're having bad attacks. Also, the doctor can get a better sense of the severity of your gout and determine future steps to take to prevent and treat your condition. Be upfront about how bad the pain is.
  • fruits and veggies
    Change Your Diet
    Check out long-term solutions to prevent painful attacks in the future. Many of these have to do with your diet. For instance, foods like red meat and shellfish are high in substances called purines. Purines are known to trigger an attack. Alcohol and sugary drinks are also potential triggers. Being overweight can lead to gout, too. Try to eat foods that can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and stay gout-free.
  • cup of coffee on a saucer
    Enjoy Some Coffee
    At least two research studies have suggested that coffee might keep gout at bay. They noted that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day were far less likely to develop gout. The effect appears to be due to something in the coffee other than the caffeine, since other caffeine-containing beverages and chocolate did not lower the risk of gout. So, enjoy your morning brew, knowing it just might be keeping your gout pain-free. (Just be sure to hold back on the sugar.)
  • Cherries
    Try Some Cherry Juice
    Researchers also report that drinking cherry juice concentrate each day seems to cut down on gout flares. That was the finding from three studies, though experts need more information from other studies before making a firm recommendation. Still, it's a safe and simple step that might just help if you’re coping with gout pain. Again, though, make sure to find an unsweetened cherry juice concentrate—no added sugar.
9 Tips for Coping With Gout Pain
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Last Review Date: 2021 May 28
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.