Gout in the Heel: Causes, Symptoms, and Pain Relief Options

May 19, 2024 | 2 min read

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Gout in the heel is a form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the heel joint. This condition leads to intense pain, swelling, and redness, making it difficult to walk or stand. The pain often worsens at night or early morning.

Can you get gout in your heel?

Yes, you can get gout in your heel. Although it commonly affects the big toe, gout can also occur in the heel. The heel is susceptible to gout because it is a weight-bearing joint, and uric acid crystals can easily accumulate there, causing pain and inflammation.

What is gout in the heel of the foot?

Gout in the heel is a type of arthritis where uric acid crystals accumulate in the heel joint. This buildup causes inflammation and severe pain. Currently, an estimated 3.9% of U.S. adults are affected by this condition, according to the National Kidney Foundation data

Uric acid is a waste product that normally dissolves in the blood and is excreted in the urine. However, when there is too much uric acid in the body, it can form sharp crystals in joints like the heel, leading to gout.

What are the symptoms of gout in the heel?

  • Intense pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth in the affected area
  • Difficulty walking
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion

What causes gout in the heel?

  • Buildup of uric acid crystals in the heel joint: Excess uric acid forms sharp crystals in the heel.
  • Diet rich in purines: Foods like red meat, seafood, and alcohol increase uric acid levels.
  • Genetic predisposition: Family history can increase the likelihood of developing gout.
  • Obesity: Extra body weight raises uric acid levels in the blood.
  • Certain medical conditions: Conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to higher uric acid levels.

What does gout feel like in your heel?

Gout in the heel feels like an intense and sharp pain. The pain can be sudden and severe, often starting during the night or early morning. This pain may worsen with movement and can make it difficult to walk or stand. The affected area may also feel tender and warm to the touch.

How to relieve gout pain in the heel?

  • Lifestyle changes: Adopt a diet low in purines, avoid alcohol, and stay well-hydrated to manage uric acid levels.
  • Rest and elevation: Rest the affected heel and elevate it to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Applying ice: Apply ice packs to the heel for 15-20 minutes several times a day to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Avoiding triggers: Identify and avoid foods, drinks, or activities that trigger gout flare-ups.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Losing excess weight can help reduce the risk of gout attacks.
  • Staying active: Gentle exercise can improve joint health, but avoid activities that stress the affected heel.
  • Using protective footwear: Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to reduce pressure on the heel.
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