Uric acid is a by-product released after the digestion of food. It occurs when the body breaks down purines, a compound found naturally in our body as well as in certain foods. When uric acid is released, it is transported to the kidneys to be removed as waste through the urine. However, the following complications may arise in some people:
- There is excess production of uric acid
- A high-purine diet results in the release of a lot of uric acid
- The kidney does not remove all the uric acid
In these scenarios, the uric acid accumulates in the joints and causes pain and inflammation. The condition, called gout, usually begins from the big toe, and, subsequently, the inside arch of the foot, ankles, heels, and knees may also be affected. Doctors treat gout with medication to control the pain and reduce the uric acid levels. The pain can otherwise be severe and also interfere with one’s normal routine, but some simple things can be followed to reduce the pain.
Natural ways to relieve gout pain and swelling
An ice pack is one of the first things one should use to relieve severe pain. Patients should lie down and apply an ice pack for 15 minutes. This can be repeated several times.
- Take rest
Gout pain can also affect movement, and if patients have compulsions of things to be done at home or the workplace, they should keep in mind that movement worsens the symptoms significantly. Excessive movement, a lot of walking, exercise, and other activities that use the affected joints aggravate pain. It is recommended to delegate work or take a break for a couple of days so that the symptoms and productivity can improve.
- Elevate the joints
Mobility can increase pain, so if gout has affected the feet, a natural way to relieve gout pain and swelling is to elevate feet on some cushions and stretch out completely. This enhances blood circulation, and uric acid can flow back from the joints.
- Adequate water consumption
Water helps reduce swelling and flushes out excess uric acid through the urine, so the amount of water consumption should be increased. The ideal consumption of water for everyone is 8 glasses, but gout patients should have at least 16 glasses of water.
- Avoid trigger foods
Many food items have high purine levels, so they should be avoided. Red meat, seafood, processed and fast food, sugary or carbonated and aerated drinks, beer and alcohol, animal liver, and vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms are high in purine. All these trigger foods should be avoided, especially during flare-ups.
- Eat healthy foods
A plant-based and low-sugar diet helps reduce inflammation and consequent pain. Lentils, legumes, whole grains, low-sugar fruits, and low-fat dairy should be included in the diet. Caffeine tends to reduce the effect of uric acid, so the intake of hot coffee or hot chocolate is another natural way to relieve gout pain and swelling.