An acute gout attack will eventually go away on its own. This can take anywhere from 3-14 days. Comfort measures can help manage swelling and pain: Rest the jointKeep the joint elevatedPut an
ice pack on the affected jointKeep the weight of clothes and bed covers off the affected jointIf possible, avoid moving or placing any pressure on the affected joint
When to Contact Your Doctor
An acute attack of gout increases the risk of recurrent attacks. Call your doctor right away if: You think you may be experiencing a gout attack for the first timeYou have had gout attacks before, but your prescribed treatment does not control this attack quicklyYour symptoms worsen, do not improve, or keep coming back
Prompt treatment is necessary to limit the severity of the attack and to help prevent permanent joint damage and disability.
ACR publishes guidelines for pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment of gout. Am Fam Physician. 2013;88(6):408-412.
Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/gout_ff.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout—treatment of acute attack. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 13, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Pittman JR, Bross MH. Diagnosis and management of gout. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1799-1806.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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