My First Week of Gout Pain and How I Treated it
Online help for gout
- Gout - MayoClinic.com
Gout — Comprehensive overview covers gout symptoms, causes and treatment, including gout diet.
- Gout Diet - How Changing Your Diet Can Help Control Gout
Gout is a form of arthritis marked by sudden attacks of painful,inflamed joints. If it is not controlled,gout can cause severe damage to joints,tendons,and other tissues. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood.
When I had my first attack of gout, I did an Internet search in an effort to understand what it was. The one thing I was unable to find was a day by day description of what the disease is like. I decided to record what happened to me during the first seven days of the attack. Since the initial onset, I have altered my diet -- greatly increasing the amount of water I drink -- and I have made more of an effort to eat less meat by increasing my fruit and vegetable intake. Even though this diary offers some insight to the symptoms of the disease, it is not meant to replace a doctor's advise -- or an indication that should you have an attack that the symptoms will be the same. If you have an attack, see your doctor as soon as possible.
My first attack of gout started off as more of an annoyance than any significant pain. It started on a Friday evening when the big toe on my right foot felt like it needed to 'pop' -- like cracking your knuckles. I tried to get it to pop, but when I could I took two tynenols and the irritation went away. I slept fine that evening, but Day Two was not so pleasant.
When I woke up Saturday morning, the toe was definitely starting to hurt. On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 4. I took a couple of tynenol (I have a medical condition that prevents me from taking ibopropen) -- but they were ineffective. I had to drive several hours that morning and when I got out of the car, I could not apply much pressure to the right foot, so I had to hobble in.
At this point, the pain is at a 6-7 level and I am beginning to believe that I broke the toe since I was unable to move it. But there was no reason to believe it broken since I had not injured it. The right side of the toe was also becoming extremely sensitive. It was redish-pink and the swelling was below the base of the toe by at least an inch.
I knew my grandparents had suffered from gout -- and I remembered hearing about the father in 'Everybody Hates Chris' suffering from it so I looked up the symptoms on the Web. One of the ways of reducing the pain, an article said, was with Advil or any of the NSAIDs -- and although I am not supposed to take them I took three and it did reduce the pain down to a 2 or 3. It did not seem to have any impact on the swelling.
Once I learned that gout is caused by a build up of uric acid, I started drinking a lot of water and flavored water (Propel, tea, MIO, etc.). I also drastically cut back on my pop consumption since one study indicated there may be a connection between drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and gout.
I slept okay that evening, but the pain did wake me up in the night. I started alternating tynenol and advil. By the time I went to bed I could not apply much pressure to the foot.
The pain increase even more on Sunday, hitting at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10. I could not walk easily since the foot couldn't handle any pressure. I also have to sit with the foot elevated, The more I sit without elevating the foot, the more painful the toe becomes.
Even though I am not supposed to take iboprofen, I continue taken it since it does seem to dull the pain to a manageable level (3 or 4). But as the day wears on even the advil has quit working. By bedtime, the toe was throbbing and the swelling had extended across and down the foot. The swelling was still pinkish red, but it was becoming more reddish in color.
I started icing the foot on Saturday (Day 2) and it did ease the pain somewhat, but by Sunday night even that was not helping. I was only able to sleep three or four hours that night due to the pain -- and I kept an ice pack on my foot for most of the waking hours. I also tried massaging the toe, which did help some.
Monday was when the pain peaked, probably because I was finally able to get a doctor appointment. The foot was swollen enough that I could not wear a shoe -- so I wore a shoe used when the foot is broken. The doctor was able to see me early Monday morning and confirmed it was gout, but took a blood test to doublecheck my uric acid level. He also gave me a seven day supply of Prednisone which I took three times a day (20mg). A few hours after the second dose I could tell a reduction of pain and swelling. One I started taking the Prednisone I quit the ibuprofen.
I still spent a lot of the day with the foot elevated, but I no longer needed to ice it. I slept well -- no painful episodes to wake me.
On Tuesday morning the toe was considerably better. It was less sensitive, less swollen and it was not as red. However, if I sat too long with it unelevated, though, the pain could return to a 3 or 4 level.
Wednesday: This was the first day I felt I could walk easily without too much of a limp. The swelling was gone. The redness and soreness were also less severe. At this point I had been on my medication for two full days.
Thursday: After three full days of medication, a lot of ice, a lot of elevating the foot and resting it, I felt like my foot was healed. I spent the afternoon doing some yard work. After about 2-3 hours on my feet, my foot started hurting again. I rested, elevated and iced it and by Friday, it was back to feeling normal. However, my foot continued to 'flare up' over the next three days. I eventually order a refill of my medicine -- I took it another day and for the most part I haven't had any more issues.