5 Tips for Avoiding a Gout Flare-up

Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects the joint between your foot and your big toe. It’s caused when there’s a buildup of uric acid in your bloodstream, and the acid crystallizes. The crystals tend to form around that particular joint because it’s far from your heart, so your circulation may not be as strong there as in other parts of your body. 

The uric acid crystals cause inflammation that can ultimately lead to joint damage and pain. Gout can be debilitating, but there are some things you can do to avoid the pain of a gout attack. 

Dr. Michael Tran and the staff at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center present these five tips for avoiding gout flare-ups. You’ll likely still need medication, but these lifestyle changes can also be an important part of your treatment plan. 

1. Avoid certain foods

Certain foods make gout flare-ups more likely. Uric acid is a natural byproduct when your body digests a substance called purine. Some of the foods that contain purine — and therefore increase the uric acid levels in your body — include red meat, organ meats (like liver), sardines, bacon, mussels, and added sugars.

2. Consume more of these foods

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is important for good health, and there are quite a few foods that have low levels of purine, including:

Stone fruits like cherries are capable of lowering uric acid levels. Research indicates that vegetables, even those with higher purine levels, don’t trigger gout attacks.

3. Drink way more water

The top modifiable risk factor you can change to to lower your risk is how much water you drink. Staying hydrated helps prevent gout flare-ups. Uric acid is processed through your kidneys, so drinking more water can help flush it from your system. You may want to aim to drink 128 ounces of liquid a day, with at least 64 ounces of water included. 

4. Back off the booze

Alcohol, and particularly beer, contains purine, thanks to the yeast used to produce it.  Beer is one of the top causes of gout flare-ups among people who consume it, so try switching to another beverage instead and reducing your alcohol consumption overall.

5. Keep (or get) moving

When you’re in pain, your first instinct may be to rest, but that can be a bad decision when you have arthritis. Your joints tend to become more immobile and painful when you don’t move them. If it helps to get you moving, get a cane to relieve pressure on the most painful side. Try to stay active every day for optimal blood circulation. 

While these tips can help you reduce flare-ups, if you have gout, you need a full treatment plan. Dr. Tran and his team are happy to help you understand your condition and to create a plan to help you manage it.

If you’ve been diagnosed with gout or you suspect you have it, schedule an appointment at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center. Call the location nearest you, or use our convenient online booking tool today.

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