You may not know how rough toe pain can be until you have a bout of gout, a common form of arthritis that causes sudden and severe attacks of pain, swelling, and redness in the joints.
While gout can theoretically affect any joint, it’s most known for causing sharp and intense pain in the big toe—in fact, people often report waking in the middle of the night feeling like their big toe is burning.
Gout is caused by an accumulation of urate crystals, which form when people have too much uric acid in their blood.
The body normally produces uric acid when it breaks down substances called purines, which are already found in the body but also in certain foods and drinks, such as red meat, certain fish, and beer and cocktails.
This buildup of uric acid can cause sharp urate crystals to form in tissue, which results in needle-like pain known as a “gout attack.”
While gout isn’t necessarily cause for major medical concern, if left untreated, it can result in joint damage or lead to kidney stones.
Because it can be very painful, you will want to treat it right away, and prevent it from recurring as much as possible.
While you should always seek medical attention for new, severe pain, there are also ways to relieve gout pain at home.
1. Watch what you eat — and drink
Meats, refined carbs, fructose, and yeast are all responsible for high purine intakes, LiveStrong indicates. As such, consumption of sodas and fruit juices should be limited, and so should beer. “Organ meats,” such as liver and kidneys, should be avoided as well, Mayo Clinic recommends — seafood too, such as sardines, anchovies and mussels.
2. Mix healthier foods into your diet
Top 10 Home Remedies suggests a number of natural foods that you can take to counteract the effects of gout. Cherries rank highly among them, thanks to their high levels in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation. Apples and bananas are also recommended, as they both contain compounds capable of getting rid of uric acid: Malic acid in apples neutralizes uric acid, while the potassium contents in bananas will liquefy the crystals and flush them out.
3. Try these alternative remedies
– Apple cider vinegar, ginger
Watered-down apple cider vinegar can relieve pain with its acidity, Top 10 Home Remedies suggests, while ginger root (in powdered or liquid form) prevents inflammation.
– Baking soda and activated charcoal
These 2 can both reduce uric acid: The former by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water, and the latter by applying paste made from charcoal and water to your gout-infected areas, either in the form of a lotion or a bath.
Celery is commonly touted as a home remedy for urinary tract issues, and celery seed extract has been recommended as a home remedy for gout.
That may be because celery seed contains luteolin, a compound that can help to reduce uric acid levels.
Antioxidants found in celery can also help to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, including gout.
While there’s no direct scientific evidence suggesting celery is an effective way to prevent gout, it can’t hurt to munch on a healthy snack that’s low in purine.
If you decide to try celery seed extract as a supplement, talk to your doctor first and follow the instructions on the product label.
Water is a great last resort. LiveStrong recommends solid hydration to allow your kidneys to process the uric acid and pass it through urine. For quick pain relief, immersing painful body parts in cold water can help — but Top 10 Home Remedies warns not to abuse cold treatment, as it could also promote the crystallization of uric acid and make things worse.
Naturally, it is strongly recommended to see a doctor regularly when you’re dealing with gout, as you will get a better idea of exactly how to adapt your diet to your own specific circumstances.
References: remedydaily.com, khealth.com