What Are the Natural Treatments for Gout in the Foot?

Gout is a form of arthritis that attacks the joints in the body. It is caused by an excess of uric acid that is the result of a substance called purines. When uric acid appears in the body, it is usually flushed out in the urine. But when gout hits, excess uric acid ends up pooling at joint locations. Swelling, inflammation, pain and stiffness can then develop. When gout targets a foot, it can actually be seen in the toes or ankles. In both cases, there are several treatment options available.

Avoid Purines

Various foods are high in purines, and since purines are responsible for uric acid, these foods should be eliminated. Some of these include organ meats, such as livers, brains and kidneys, game meats and anything that has meat extracts in them, such as gravy. Seafood and some types of fish are also high in purines and should be eliminated. Some of these include sardines, mackerel, clams, anchovies and squid. A variety of beans are also high in purines and should be eliminated. Some of these include lentils, black-eyed peas and Great Northern beans.

Patients who suffer from gout are often asked to restrict the amount of protein in their diet. Protein based food contains high amounts of biological compounds called purines. Unfortunately, the breakdown of purines leads to the formation of uric acid. According to The American Dietetics Association, patients with gout should have a restricted protein intake of between 114 to 170g per day. A healthy gout diet should obtain protein from low fat sources such as dairy, eggs, nuts and tofu, and contain plenty of fruits and leafy vegetables.

Drink Water

Water is a substance that offers many benefits to the body. It has no calories, is hydrating, helps metabolize fat, helps lubricate the joints and helps flush toxins, such as uric acid, from the body. According to the Institute of Medicine, women should drink 2.2 liters a day and men should drink 3 liters a day.

Eat Cherries

Cherries have a substance in them called anthocyanins, which offer a couple benefits to gout in the foot. They help reduce inflammation, and they lower the amount of uric acid in the body. They can be eaten fresh, dried or even in the form of juice or extract and still have the same effect.

How Do Cherries Treat Gout?

Cherries are of particular use in the effective and prompt management of gout.

People suffering from gout have abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood. Under certain specific circumstances, the body either produces too much of uric acid or excretes too little. Consequently, the serum levels of uric acid shoot up. As the uric acid concentration increases, uric acid crystals are formed. These crystals accumulate in the joints and cause pain and swelling.

Cherries are loaded with anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are flavanoids that exert strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. These anthocyanidins inhibit the activity of the enzyme xanthine oxidase that is involved in the production of uric acid.

Clinical trials and laboratory assessments reveal that consuming about 250 grams of cherries per day helps lower the blood uric acid level appreciably and prevents attacks of gout.

Also, the anthocyanidins block the COX 1 and the COX 2 enzymes, and thus act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents, which in turn reduces inflammation, swelling, pain and discomfort associated with the disorder.

Including Cherries in the Daily Diet of a Gout Patient

While selecting cherries, look for those which are cool and moist. The skin should be bright and glossy. The fruit should be firm, but not hard. Avoid those which are soft and squishy, and have cuts and bruises. Brown discoloration is an indication for decay.

Here are some wonderful and delectable ideas to add the fruit to the daily diet to get a minimum of 250 grams of cherries per day:

1. Instead of strawberry shortcake, opt for cherry shortcake. Halve a low fat food cake and layer it with diced sweet cherries and a dollop of vanilla yogurt. It makes a yummy, yet wholesome dessert.
2. Top yogurt with sliced cherries, or blend cherries in a food processor and mix with yogurt to get a delicious and nutritious smoothie.
3. Cherry soup is an excellent way of getting the daily dose of the fruit. Sweet or sour cherries can be used for the soup. Cook the cherries in water. Simmer until they are soft. Then puree them. Add honey as per taste and chill. Serve cold.

In addition to the cherry diet, ensure that the intake of purine rich foods – herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, organ meat, yeast, legumes, mushroom, peas, shellfish and spinach is low. A low-purine, low-fat, low-protein and high-fluid diet promises complete freedom from gout.


When walking or standing, you are placing a lot of stress and pressure on your feet and ankles. This can exacerbate pain in the area where gout might be seen. To avoid this, eliminate high amounts of walking. When you are at rest, elevate your foot at least to the height of your heart or higher. You can also walk with the assistance of a cane to take more pressure off of your foot.


Another way to treat gout in the foot is by taking medications. Some common over-the-counter drugs are anti-inflammatories, such as Motrin and Naprosyn. There are also some pharmaceutical drugs that are often prescribed by doctors for gout in the foot. Some of these include Colchicine, Benemid, Aloprim and Zyloprim.


Alcohol, especially beer and wine, are liquid substances that have a high purine content. The reason is because of the addition of yeast, which helps promote the fermentation process. Yeast is also found in bread, bagels, pretzels and various other baked goods as a thickener and a component to help them rise. To help reduce symptoms of gout in the foot, eliminate any of these products.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This treatment is traditionally accepted as one of the most effective solutions among various alternative therapies. One of the key ingredients in apple cider vinegar is malic acid, which seems to have a therapeutic effect for the problem of gout. Malic acid reacts with the uric acid that has built up in the joints and clears it from the system.

A number of gout patients who have tried this therapy report a marked improvement in their condition, including reduction in pain, swelling and inflammation, and more flexible movement of joints. The degree of effectiveness of the treatment may vary depending on the patient’s condition. Some patients report quick relief from pain within a few hours, while some others find noticeable improvement in their condition after several days of treatment.

Oral or Topical Application

It is important to take the appropriate dosage in order to achieve maximum benefit from apple cider vinegar gout therapy. The usual recommended dosage is 10 to 15 ml of the mixture taken two to three times a day. The dosage can be taken in a concentrated form, or diluted with warm water, as per the patient’s choice.

This therapy may also be applied topically, if the patient is not comfortable with an oral intake. The patient may wrap a small towel soaked in apple cider vinegar over the affected site, and allow it to remain in place for about half an hour. To achieve the desired results from apple cider vinegar treatment, it is also important to choose the right variety. It may be advisable to opt for the raw or un-distilled liquid in its natural form, rather than a clear variety which has been intensively processed.

Grandma’s Recipe for Oral Intake

Take one to two tablespoons of honey, one to two tablespoons of mineral or purified water, and one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Make sure to choose the vinegar in its most natural or unprocessed form that you can find. Mix all three liquids nicely, and drink it once in the morning and once in the evening after meals.

If the mixture is very thick for your taste, you may dilute it with more quantity of water. The use of honey is optional, depending on your taste. This mixture should be consumed regularly for four weeks to see clear results. The gout condition should start improving within a week after this treatment.

Foods to Avoid with Gout

There are also many simple ways to help prevent gout. One of the most effective ways to do both, is simple changes to the diet. One of these is to avoid certain foods. Some foods that should be avoided, or cut back on, include alcohol, soda, meat and seafood.

Alcohol and Soda for Gout

Many medical studies since the 1990's have proven that drinking alcohol greatly increases the risk of gout. Alcohol is most likely to cause gout when more than three drinks are consumed at a time on a regular basis. In a medical study, men who consumed more than four alcoholic drinks per day were nearly three times as likely to develop gout than those who only drink on occasion and do not drink more than a couple of drinks at a time. Beer consumption seems to cause patients to be more at risk than those that drink wine or hard liquor.

A medical study reported in the British Medical Journal, suggested that a common risk factor for gout is sweetened sodas. Men that drink five or six sodas on a weekly basis, were nearly 30% more likely to develop gout than men that do not drink soda. The effects of diet soda are not as severe, but diet soda can also increase risk for gout.

Meat and Seafood for Gout

In many medical studies it has been proven that high intake of meat can greatly increase the risk for gout. This is especially true for those that tend to eat a lot of red meat, especially pork, beef and lamb. It has also been shown that eating a lot of seafood (usually 10 servings or more per week) can increase the risk for gout as well.

Although avoiding these foods and beverages can be very beneficial for preventing and treating gout, they work especially well when paired with a proper, balanced diet. Those suffering from gout can also make these diet changes along with any treatment that is currently being used.

Avoiding High-Purine Foods

Certain foods have been found to contain significantly higher amounts of purines. Patients with gout should limit the intake of these foods or avoid them altogether. Foods such as sardines, mussels, smelt, and herring are very high in purine content. Foods that contain moderately high amounts of purines include veal, scallops, turkey, pheasant, and bacon. Patients should contact a physician with concerns regarding gouty arthritis or to discuss treatment options for gout.

While one must avoid the high-purine foods:

  • Liver
  • Sweetbreads
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Kidneys
  • Meat concentrates like consommé, bouillon, and stocks
  • Herring, scallops, mackerel
  • Game meats
  • gravy

protein should not be completely avoided. Choose dairy products such as cheese and milk, and eggs. Nuts, fruit, cereals other than oatmeal, and many vegetables all contain some protein and are rich in other nutrients as well.

Foods that are moderately high in purines can be eaten in moderation, such as mushrooms, spinach, oats and oatmeal, soy proteins, whole grain breads, green peas, asparagus. Limit the consumption of these and meat, fish and poultry to one serving of 4-6 ounces a day. If you are not on a fluid-restricted treatment for edema, drink plenty of water to help flush excess uric acid from the body. Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption, especially beer which contains yeast.

Try to lose weight, as obesity is both a high-risk factor and an aggravating condition. Staying within a healthy weight range will reduce uric acid production by the body. Don't follow a low-carb diet as this can worsen gout conditions. Speak with a health care professional about changes to your diet and exercise routines, before making major changes.

Control Your Gout by Changing Your Lifestyle

If you've ever had a gout attack, you know how excruciating they can be. Sometimes, an attack is so painful, there's nothing you can do but lay down and wait for it to pass, whether that's in a few hours or a few weeks.

Luckily, gout is a condition that can be controlled.

Being overweight can contribute to gout attacks.

Most gout sufferers are about fifteen to thirty percent over their ideal weight. People who carry excess weight often have higher levels of uric acid (the main cause of gout attacks) in their systems. And the more overweight they are, the more frequent and painful gout attacks tend to be.

Losing weight is the first step to decreasing the frequency and severity of gout attacks. Also, the less weight you carry, the less pressure you'll be putting on tender, inflamed joints.

Lose weight slowly.

Since being overweight can trigger, and contribute to the severity of, gout attacks, it would seem like losing weight as fast as possible would be a good idea. But losing weight too fast can actually raise uric acid levels, worsening gout attacks.

Fasting can also be bad for gout sufferers. Going without food for more than twenty four hours, or eating less than 1,000 calories a day, will make uric acid levels skyrocket.

It's best to lose weight gradually, with the help of exercise and a sensible diet.

Vitamins aren't always good for you.

It's not a bad idea to talk to your doctor about the vitamin supplements you've been taking. Taking too much of certain vitamins and nutrients, like vitamin A and niacin, can actually make gout worse.

Some prescription medications can make gout worse.

If you're being treated for another condition, like heart disease or high blood pressure, make sure your doctor knows you also suffer from gout. Otherwise, he might unknowingly give you a prescription that could make your condition worse.

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