Managing a Gout Flare | Arthritis Foundation (2023)


Managing a Gout Flare

Gout flares are unexpected and painful. Here’s how to get a handle on them.

Few things in life are more painful than a gout flare, so if you’re awakened in the wee hours by a joint that is tender, swollen, red and radiating heat, you’ll want to act fast. Here’s what you can do when a gout flare starts to ease the pain and reduce the risk of others.

Take Medicine You Have on Hand.Start treatment immediately with over-the-counter ibuprofen (Motrin,Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), but never take aspirin, which can worsen a flare. If you have had a flare before and your doctor has prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to take in the event of another, take your prescribed medication as your doctor directed. If you are already taking a uric acid-lowering drug to reduce the risk of flares, continue to take that drug.

Ice Down.Applying an ice pack to the painful joint may help ease pain and inflammation. Wrap a pack (a bag of crushed ice or frozen peas will also do) in a dish cloth and apply to the area for 20- to 30-minutes at a stretch several times a day.

(Video) Webinar: Managing Gout | Professional & patient voices | AKF

Call Your Doctor. Let your doctor know what is going on right away. She may prescribe a new medication, or have you come to the office for a joint fluid test (to confirm the gout diagnosis) or an injection of a corticosteroid to start relieving inflammation quickly. Getting treatment within the first 24 hours of the start of a flare can lessen its length and severity.

Drink Lots of Nonalcoholic Fluids.Staying hydrated helps flush out uric acid (the cause of your joint pain) and prevent kidney stones, another possible problem associated with high uric acid levels. Aim for eight to 16 cups of fluids a day, at least half of them water.

Avoid Alcohol.Although it may be tempting to have a drink to relax when you’re in pain, it’s important toavoid alcohol, especially beer, which contains high levels of purines. The body creates uric acid when it metabolizes purines. Furthermore, alcohol inhibits the excretion of uric acid from your body.

Get a Cane.Walking with a cane during an acute gou flare can help keep pressure off your painful joint.

Elevate Your Foot. If your toe or foot is swollen and painful, raising it with pillows so it’s higher than your chest may help reduce swelling.

Cut Your Sock. Cut the big toe out of cheap socks or cut the toe section off completely if your toes are affected so you can keep your feet warm feet without pressure on your painful toe.

Chill Out.Try to relax if you can; stress can aggravate gout. Watch a movie, talk to a friend, read a book or listen to music to distract yourself.

Revamp Your Menu.Stop eatingtroublesome high-purine foods, such as shellfish, red meat, sweetbreads and gravies.

Gout Related Articles

Find More Gout Articles

Managing a Gout Flare | Arthritis Foundation (1)


What is a Flare?

Understand what it means when someone says they are having an arthritis flare.

Read More

(Video) Managing Acute and Chronic Gout -- From Simple to Complex

Managing a Gout Flare | Arthritis Foundation (2)


(Video) Gout Guideline Changes and Best Treatment

A New View on Gout Flares and Treatments

New research is revealing further insights into the causes of gout and gout flares as well as the best gout treatments.

Read More

Connect with Others

Local support groups bring together people with arthritis to exchange tips, share concerns and encourage each other.

Check Locations

Diagnosed With Gout?

Get the latest news and tips about living with Gout in the Living Your Yes! newsletter.


1. Inflammatory Arthritis: What you need to know | Arthritis Talks
(Arthritis Society Canada)
2. New Gout Guidelines: Primary Care Pointers
3. Minimum fasting length required for autophagy | Guido Kroemer
(FoundMyFitness Clips)
4. Wipe Out Gout
(Arthritis Foundation)
5. Gout - NICE Guidance
(The Rheumatology Physio)
6. Gout Attack Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, Pharmacology Nursing Lecture for NCLEX Explained
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 03/28/2023

Views: 5775

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.