Gout can affect many different joints, including the heel. Episodes of gout can set on very quickly and cause a lot of discomfort, particularly without proper treatment.

Gout is the crystallization of uric acid that builds up in the joints, causing severe pain. Gout typically resolves within days or weeks but can cause a lot of pain when it flares up.

In this article, we will explore what gout is, the symptoms of gout in the heel, what causes gout in the heel, and its diagnosis and treatment.

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Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that typically causes a lot of pain, along with swelling and discoloration.

Gout tends to affect one joint at a time. The joint of the big toe is a common site for gout. However, it can affect many other areas of the body, including the heel.

Sometimes symptoms may worsen, which is known as a flare or flare-up. Remission is when there are periods of no present symptoms.

There is currently no known cure for gout. However, a person can effectively manage and treat gout with medications and self-care strategies.

The onset of gout flares can occur suddenly and go on for days or weeks.

Long periods of remission, possibly months or years, may follow before another flare occurs. Gout typically occurs in only one joint at a time but presents similar symptoms at most sites on the body.

Along with joints, such as the big toe, ankle, or knee, symptoms of gout in the heel include:

  • intense pain
  • swelling of the affected joint
  • skin discoloration
  • heat or a burning sensation

A condition called hyperuricemia is generally the cause of gout. This occurs when a person has too much uric acid in their body.

The body produces uric acid as it breaks down purines. Purines are naturally occurring chemicals present in every cell and in some foods, especially red meat, certain seafood, and beer.

When uric acid buildup occurs, shard-like crystals can become lodged in the joints.

Gout can occur due to:

  • genetics
  • kidney dysfunction
  • too many purines in the diet
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • some medications

Hyperuricemia does not always cause gout. If it does not cause gout, hyperuricemia does not require treatment.

Doctors diagnose gout by assessing a person’s symptoms, performing a physical exam, and ordering other tests, such as:

  • blood tests to check for urate levels
  • ultrasound scans to check for urate crystal buildup in the affected joint
  • taking fluid samples from the area of the affected joint to check for crystal buildup
  • dual energy source CT (DECT) to detect urate deposits

Doctors can only diagnose gout while a person is experiencing a flare of symptoms and when a lab test finds uric acid crystals in the affected joint.

There are two types of treatment people can try for gout — medications and home remedies with lifestyle changes.


Medications people use to treat gout include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These include ibuprofen and naproxen. Generally, doctors prescribe NSAIDs for people under age 65 if they do not take blood thinning medication and do not have a history of bleeding. This is because NSAIDs can cause internal bleeding in some people.
  • Colchicine: This prescription anti-inflammatory treats gout pain symptoms, but can have side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • Corticosteroids: These are effective at reducing inflammation fast but can have severe side effects.
  • Uric acid-lowering drugs: If someone experiences multiple gout attacks per year or displays signs of joint damage on X-rays, their doctor may suggest taking medication to reduce their uric acid levels to prevent further damage. Allopurinol is the first-line treatment for all patients, according to the American College of Rheumatology’s 2020 gout guidelines.

Home remedies and lifestyle changes

Alongside taking medications, a doctor may recommend certain habit changes to help a person prevent gout flare-ups, including:

  • avoiding certain triggering foods, such as red meat
  • limiting alcohol
  • maintaining a moderate weight, to reduce pressure on the joints and improve circulation
  • keeping hydrated, which helps thin the blood

The following are some questions people frequently ask about gout in the heel.

How long does gout last in the heel?

Without treatment, the worst part of an acute gout attack tends to last around 12–24 hours. People typically recover within days or weeks without treatment but may feel a lot of pain during this time.

Why does my heel hurt in the morning with gout?

People with gout are more likely to experience flares late at night or early in the morning.

This may be due to drops in body temperature, sleep apnea, or increased blood acidity due to higher carbon dioxide intake as breathing patterns change during sleep.

What are remedies for gout in the heel?

Remedies for heel gout focus on the prevention of future flares and include, managing weight, avoiding triggering foods, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Gout is a buildup of needle-like crystals that lodge in the joints due to too much uric acid in the blood. Gout affects many joints, including the heel, but typically only one at a time.

Gout attacks can be due to eating too many high-purine foods, excessive alcohol consumption, or certain medical conditions. Doctors diagnose gout during flares with blood tests, a physical examination, and an ultrasound.

People can manage and treat gout with anti-inflammatory medications, drugs that lower uric acid, and lifestyle changes to prevent future flares.

Individuals should speak with a healthcare professional for the most effective way to manage gout.