It is safe for people to walk with gout. In fact, doing joint friendly activities such as walking can help improve gout-related pain. However, there are still some risks associated with exercise and gout.

Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect the lesser toes, ankles, and knees. It normally affects one joint at a time.

People with gout may find it difficult to carry out physical activity, or they may be worried that physical activity will make their gout worse.

This article will examine whether or not it is safe to walk with gout. It will also cover how to manage, treat, and prevent this condition.

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Walking with gout is safe, even in cases of severe arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that doing joint friendly physical activity is important in improving gout-related pain.

Joint friendly activity is any activity that does not put too much stress on the joints and minimizes the risk of injury. Such activities may include:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • swimming

Experts recommend that adults take part in at least moderate intensity physical activity for 150 minutes per week. However, the CDC recommend that people with gout start slow, pay attention to how their body tolerates exercise, and slowly add more time.

People should take care to adjust their physical activities according to the gout symptoms they are experiencing. This may involve reducing the amount of time spent exercising if symptoms get worse.

Some of the risks associated with walking or doing moderate physical activity include causing injury to the joint or worsening gout symptoms.

The Arthritis Foundation recommend:

  • wearing form-fitting clothing to ensure that the clothing material does not get caught on anything, such as equipment
  • wearing supportive, comfortable shoes
  • using a stationary bike if cycling, as this can reduce the risk of injury
  • starting slow and not overdoing any physical activity

A gout flare is the sudden onset of gout symptoms. Flares can last for days or weeks.

When a flare occurs, people can reduce their gout symptoms by doing the following:

  • icing the affected joint to reduce the pain and swelling
  • elevating the affected joint to reduce the swelling
  • resting the affected joint

This means that if a person is experiencing a painful gout flare, they should avoid walking to reduce swelling and pain. The Arthritis Foundation also recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, and using a walking aid, such as a cane, to relieve pressure on the joint.

The body breaks down products known as purines, which come from certain foods and drinks. Uric acid is a byproduct of this purine breakdown.

Some people’s kidneys cannot efficiently remove uric acid from the body. This causes elevated uric acid, also known as hyperuricemia. Other causes of hyperuricemia include psoriasis, leukemia, and obesity.

Hyperuricemia is needed for monosodium urate crystals to form. These crystals build up in the joints and can cause swelling and pain. Hyperuricemia does not always cause gout, however.

Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of gout also exist. These include:

Symptoms of gout in the affected joint include:

  • warmth
  • severe pain
  • swelling
  • flushed skin
  • stiffness

Gout flares normally improve after a few weeks, even without treatment. The frequency of flares can vary from person to person.

People can help prevent future gout flares by making changes to their routine. The CDC recommend:

  • exercising regularly, if possible
  • reducing alcohol intake, particularly that of beer
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • eating fewer purine-rich foods, such as red meat
  • limiting the intake of sugary drinks

Learn more about foods to eat and avoid with gout here.

The initial treatment of gout tends to focus on treating acute symptoms. For this, a doctor may prescribe:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These include medications such as ibuprofen. NSAIDs help with swelling and can shorten a flare if a person takes them in the first 24 hours.
  • Corticosteroids: These include medications such as prednisone.
  • Colchicine: This is an anti-inflammatory drug. Colchicine is most effective when a person takes it within 12 hours of a gout flare beginning.

The doctor will focus on reducing uric acid levels in the body once they have treated the acute symptoms.

Some medications they may prescribe to reduce uric acid levels include:

  • allopurinol
  • febuxostat
  • probenecid
  • pegloticase

The doctor will also recommend making certain dietary and routine adjustments, such as those listed above, to prevent future gout flares and to reduce gout symptoms.

Learn more about home remedies for gout here.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms of gout.

As gout flares can last for days or weeks, a person should contact a doctor if their symptoms last for a prolonged period of time. Treatment options are more effective when a person receives them in the early stages of a gout flare.

The doctor will also be able to confirm whether or not gout is present. They will carry out a physical examination of the affected joint and may also request other tests, such as:

  • a blood test, which measures the level of uric acid in the body
  • a joint fluid test, which may show urate crystals
  • an X-ray, which can show what is causing the swelling
  • an ultrasound, which can identify urate crystals in the joint

Learn more about some other potential causes of pain in the big toe here.

Gout is a type of arthritis that tends to affect the joints of the feet, ankles, and knees. This can make it difficult to carry out physical activities.

However, doctors recommend that people with gout do joint friendly exercises to maintain physical health and reduce the symptoms of the condition. That said, a person should rest and reduce the pressure on the joint when experiencing a gout flare.

The symptoms of gout are manageable with a combination of medications and routine and dietary changes.