Treatment of Gouty Arthritis - 10 Different WaysIf left untreated, gout can lead to long-term problems. Early treatment of gouty arthritis is important. Below are some effective measures you can take. 

Gout is a form of arthritis. It is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. If present for long enough, it forms into needle-like crystals that can inflame your joints.

Symptoms include sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. You can suffer from attacks of gouty arthritis over many months and years. If it left untreated, it can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues.

How you treat it depends on whether you are suffering from an acute attack or trying to manage chronic gout and prevent further attacks.

Consult your doctor before starting any gout treatment.

 

How to Treat an Acute Gout Attack:

1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Etoricoxib which can ease pain and reduce inflammation. Use NSAIDs at the first signs of pain and other symptoms. They work more effectively if you take them close to the onset of an attack of gout.

2. Colchicine

Colchicine is derived from the crocus plant. Although not a pain-killer, it is effective at reducing inflammation. Colchicine tablets should be taken at the beginning of an attack, preferably within the 24 hours of the attack starting. You cannot take colchicine at the same time as NSAIDs. If you are on medication for another condition, you should be aware that Colchicine can interact with many other drugs. Speak to your doctor.

3. Talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms. He/she can investigate the reasons why you have elevated uric acid levels in your blood.

4. Rest the affected joint(s). Elevate your foot, resting it on a pillow if the problem is in your foot, leg or hip. Placing a cage over your affected foot or leg at night will take the weight of the bedclothes off the affected area.

5. Use an ice pack to reduce the swelling, heat and pain. You can also help to keep your affected arm or leg joint cool by keeping it outside the bed covers at night, and wearing lose clothing over the area.

 

How to Treat Chronic Gouty Arthritis:

1. If you have recurrent attacks, you must see your doctor. He/she can prescribe strong pain-killers and long-term medicines that will lower urate levels and get rid of urate crystals in your body. High urate levels can cause long-term joint damage and can also adversely affect your general health.

Your doctor can prescribe uricosuric drugs which lower the level of uric acid in your blood and help your body get rid of excess uric acid by increasing its removal by the kidneys. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors, can also be effective. Pegloticase (Krystexxa) is prescribed for gout that has been long-standing and has not responded to other treatments. Your doctor can also give steroid injections into the painful joint.

2. Apply anti-inflammatory creams and gels to the affected area. Topical capsaicin cream is effective in treating gouty arthritis symptoms.

3. Manage your weight by eating a healthy diet. Avoid foods high in purines that may trigger an attack. Avoid going without food for long periods.  Also avoid binges of eating and drinking.

4. Take regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight and take pressure off your joints.

5. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting dehydrated.

 

Any gout attack needs prompt treatment to relieve symptoms of pain and inflammation and also to prevent disability. By following the guidelines for treatment of gouty arthritis, acute and chronic attacks can be avoided and future attacks prevented.