Applying Ice To Affected Joints
Applying a cloth-covered ice pack to the joint can help reduce gout-related inflammation.
Try applying an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for 1015 minutes at a time to help relieve pain.
If gout is affecting the feet, a person can also use a pack of frozen vegetables covered with a washcloth, as this may drape more easily over the feet.
Heightened stress can worsen a persons gout symptoms. While it is not always possible to eliminate all sources of stress, the following tips might help:
- exercising, such as taking a brief walk, if the pain does not limit movement
- asking for time off from work
- journaling or reading a favorite book
- listening to music
How To Safely Apply Ice And Heat
You can apply ice and heat in lots of ways. Our experts generally recommend up to 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off:
- Ice packs: Frozen peas or corn, ice cubes in a baggie or frozen gel pack. You can ice beyond 48 hours, until swelling, tenderness or inflammation are gone.
- Ice massage: Freeze water in a Dixie cup, peel back the top, and massage the tender area until its numb. .
- Cold masks: Place a cold mask, available at drugstores, over your eyes or lay a towel soaked in cold water over your forehead and temples.
- Moist heat: Enjoy a bath, shower, hot tub or whirlpool using warm, not hot, water .
- Heat wraps: Drape a heat wrap, available at drugstores, around your neck like a scarf .
- Heating pads: To avoid burns, remove heating pads if the area becomes uncomfortably warm.
The Relationship Between Cold Water Immersion And The Progression In Gout Arthritis
|The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
|First Posted : October 14, 2020Last Update Posted : March 17, 2021
- Study Details
Variable description 1.1.1. Participants Characteristic Blood pressure and BMI were examined in a standardized medical examination. Demographic data were collected by using a self-designed questionnaire. The questionnaire included the demographic characteristics of the participant, including age, gender, marital status, educational level, income, occupation, family gout history, gouty arthritis drug consumption, alcohol consumption, and smoking status. The translated food frequency questionnaire was employed with Cronbach’s alpha as 0.95.
1.1.2. Pain The Visual Analog Scale instrument has 10 centimeters length. The standard scale anchored by “no pain” marked as a score of 0 and the “worst imaginable pain” marked as a score of 10 cm. The higher score identifies greater pain intensity. The reliability test showed that VAS was good . The reliability test of the VAS instrument has been done in Indonesia with the Cronbach’s alpha as 0.89.
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What Ice And Heat Are Not For
Both ice and heat have the potential to do some minor, temporary harm when used poorly. Heat can make inflammation significantly worse. Ice can aggravate symptoms of tightness and stiffness it can also just make any pain worse when its unwanted.
Both ice and heat are pointless or worse when unwanted: icing when youre already shivering, or heating when youre already sweating. The brain may interpret an excess of either one as a threat, but icing is more threatening and when brains think theres a threat, they may also amp up the pain.5 Ice seems to be feel more threatening to most people.
Be especially wary of icing muscle pain and it may not be obvious. You may think your back is injured, for instance, but it may just be muscle pain. Trigger points can be surprisingly intense and easily mistaken for iceable injury and inflammation. But if you ice trigger points, they may burn and ache even more acutely. This mistake is made particularly often with low back pain and neck pain the very conditions people often try to treat with ice.
Heat and inflammation are the other particularly bad combination. If you add heat to a fresh injury, watch out: its going to get worse! A physician once told my father to heat a freshly injured knee, and wow it swelled up like a balloon, three times bigger than it had been before. And three times more painful.6
Which Joints Are Involved In Gouty Arthritis And Why Is It Most Common In The Foot
As with all other known types of arthritis, Gout has particular joints it tends to attack, and the foot is its most common location. Gout especially favors the bunion joint, known as the first metatarsophalangeal joint , but the ankle, midfoot and knee are also common locations, as is the bursa that overlies the elbow.
The bunion joint is the first joint involved in 75% of patients and is ultimately involved in over 90% of those with this condition. . It is thought that this joint is especially involved in gout because it is the joint that receives the highest pounds per square inch of pressure when walking or running.
Late in gout, if untreated, multiple joints can be involved, including the fingers and wrists. The shoulder joint is very rarely involved by gout and the same is true of the hip.
Figure 5: Location of Gout Attacks
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When To Use Caution
Paraffin wax treatments supply moist heat but overheating can cause burns.
Wonder if its safe to use ice when youre burning up with fever? Theres nothing wrong with using cold to bring down a fever, says Dr. Kriegler.
How Does A Doctor Diagnose Gout
If you have sudden or severe pain in a joint, you should talk to your primary care provider . Your PCP may send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in gout and other kinds of arthritis.
Healthcare providers consider several things when confirming gout:
- Symptoms: The provider will ask you to describe your symptoms, how often they happen and how long they last.
- Physical examination: Your provider will examine the affected joint to look for swelling, redness and warmth.
- Blood work: A test can measure the amount of uric acid in your blood.
- Imaging tests: You may have pictures taken of the affected joint with X-rays, an ultrasound or MRI.
- Aspiration: The provider may use a needle to pull fluid from the joint. Using a microscope, a team member can look for uric acid crystals or a different problem .
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Now Its Your Turn To Understand What Is Better For Gout Ice Or Heat
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Home Remedy Treatments For Gout
Keeping yourself well-hydrated can help reduce gout attacks.
If you have a tendency toward attacks of gout, there are a few things that you can do to help ward off these attacks. Faithfully taking any medications prescribed by your doctor is the first step. The following home remedies can also help, whether used in conjunction with prescribed medication or, if no medication has been prescribed, on their own.
Maintain desirable weight. Since obesity is a contributing factor, keeping to a healthy weight will help prevent attacks. Whether you need to lose a few pounds or dramatically reduce your body weight, take it slow. Crash diets don’t work in the long term. Doctors often advise gout patients to adopt a reduced-calorie diet that is moderately high in protein, but low in fat. Talk to your doctor or to a registered dietitian if you need help setting up such a diet plan.
Drink eight 6-ounce glasses of fluid a day. Not only will you reduce gout attacks by washing urate out of your system, but you will also help prevent kidney stones from forming.
Avoid alcohol. It causes the body to retain urate, a definite no-no if you have gout. For years, doctors have warned patients that consuming excessive amounts of booze could cause and worsen gout, though they lacked scientific evidence to support that advice. That all changed in 2004, when a study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital showed drinking beer and liquor does indeed increase the risk of developing gout.
When To Use Heat Therapy
Heat opens up blood vessels and increases blood flow to your injured elbow joint, which promotes healing. It alleviates symptoms such as pain, stiffness and fluid build-up, or edema, in the tissues. However, you should not apply heat to a new injury wait three to four days before using it or until swelling subsides. You can choose from a variety of heat therapies, according to The Merck Manuals, such as using a heat pack soaking your elbow in warm, moving water, such as in a hot tub using infrared heat or heated wax or applying a medicated heat rub. Do not apply heat to any area with an open wound.
- Heat opens up blood vessels and increases blood flow to your injured elbow joint, which promotes healing.
- You can choose from a variety of heat therapies, according to The Merck Manuals, such as using a heat pack soaking your elbow in warm, moving water, such as in a hot tub using infrared heat or heated wax or applying a medicated heat rub.
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Gout
Consider asking your healthcare provider:
- What is causing the gout?
- Do I have any joint damage?
- What can I do to prevent future attacks?
- Can any gout medications help me?
- How long will I need to take gout medications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. Extra uric acid in your body creates sharp crystals in the joints, leading to swelling and extreme tenderness. Gout usually starts in the big toe but can affect other joints. Gout is a treatable condition, and the uric acid level can be decreased by medication and lifestyle changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about medications that can reduce uric acid levels. They can also discuss changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to prevent and reduce gout attacks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/15/2020.
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If you havegout, youre all too familiar with the sudden, burning joint pain that a gout attack can bring on most commonly in the big toe.
Gout a type ofarthritis is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Usually, having an excess of uric acid isnt harmful. In fact, many people with high levels in their blood never get gout. But when uricacid levels in your blood are too high, the uric acid may form hard crystals in your joints.
Read Also: Signs And Symptoms Of Gout In Big Toe
Symptoms Of Gout Flares
Gout is a type of arthritis that flares and subsides, especially at first. Common symptoms of a gout flare include:
- Intense joint pain that comes on suddenly, often in the middle of the night
- Most commonly affects the big toe can occur in other toe joints, ankle, knee, and more
- Typically strikes one joint at a time more can be affected as the disease progresses
- Affected joint is swollen, painful, warm to the touch, and red
- Pain from a flare can last up a week or two with long periods of remission in between
Hot And Cold Compresses
Switching between a hot compress for three minutes and a cold compress for 30 seconds on the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling that occurs during a gout attack.
In most people, a first acute gout attack comes without warning, and there arent any other symptoms of high uric acid. Prevention efforts for gout are focused on preventing future attacks or lessening their severity.
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Should I Use Ice Or Heat To Treat Injuriesexperts Say It Depends On Several Factors
Whether you sprained your ankle and jumped off the curb or stiffened every day due to arthritis, the painful joints wake up and the pain will damage our physical and mental health.
Both ice and heat have pain-relieving properties, but pain management experts say they are used in different ways and cannot be used interchangeably.
Ice can reduce inflammation and bleeding, while reducing pain. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes tight muscles. Using the wrong equipment at the wrong time can aggravate the pain.
The acronym Plain riceUsually used to promote rest, icing, compression and elevation of skeletal muscle damage. It is usually recommended to apply heat through hot compresses to reduce chronic pain, but even certain conditions such as gout can better cope with icing or freezing. Research shows that cold compresses.
Under certain circumstances, Doctor OrthoCarolina said to use ice first and then heat it up Causes blood vessels to narrow and expand Can more effectively reduce inflammation. However, this is a more advanced treatment and should be discussed with your doctor first.
What Is Better For Gout Heat Or Ice
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When To Chill And When To Heat
Many of these conditions are treatable with medication as prescribed by your health care provider. And, for other situations, over-the-counter pain relievers may be enough to help. But you still may need further relief so here are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding between ice or heat for aching muscles and joints.
Reminder: if any of these conditions are new or dont resolve quickly, be sure to contact your health care provider for more treatment options.
First of all, do not use heat on acute injuries because that extra heat can increase inflammation and delay proper healing.
When dealing with injuries, its best to predominantly choose ice if the injury is acute . The chill constricts blood vessels which numbs pain, relieves inflammation and limits bruising.
If youre sensitive to cold then ice may initially seem uncomfortable or even painful to apply. Heat can feel warm, cozy and be tempting to toss on an injury, says primary care sports medicine physician Anne Rex, DO. But dont be fooled! Ice wins to shut down swelling, inflammation and pain early on where heat may actually make an injury worse.
If youre dealing with lingering injuries then its okay to use heat. The increased blood flow relaxes tight muscles and relieves aching joints. This is especially helpful to improve range of motion on a joint that maybe isnt moving as well.
Muscle strains and sprains