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Planning a big party for Memorial Day? The traditional summer kickoff usually includes barbecue fare like steaks, burgers, and beer, but if you suffer from gout these foods should really be avoided, because they can bring on a nasty attack. If you don’t want to spend the holiday weekend with your foot up on a pillow, nursing an excruciatingly painful big toe, it’s best to find some alternative foods.

Watching what you eat and drink is the single most important way to prevent gout flares from ruining your holiday. We’ll do the “eat this, not that” format to keep things simple:

Instead of…

  • Burgers on white buns
  • Baked beans with sugar and molasses
  • Beer or sugary sodas or fruit juices
  • Cake with red, white and blue frosting

Eat…

  • Chicken shish kabobs with onions, peppers, and pineapple chunks on cooked bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Fresh veggie salad with olive oil and wine vinegar dressing
  • Iced coffee or tea (with sugar substitute)
  • Low-fat ice cream with fresh blueberries and strawberries (you still get the red, white and blue!

Now that’s not so hard, is it?

If—in spite of your care and best intentions—you feel a gout attack coming on, here are some quick and simple home remedies to relieve gout pain:

  • Drink lots of water to flush the urate crystals out of your system.
  • Start taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever right away (never aspirin, but ibuprofen or naproxen is okay as long as it doesn’t interfere with other medications)
  • Try to stay off the foot as much as possible. If you must walk, use a cane to reduce pressure on the toe joint.
  • Put your foot up on pillows and use an ice pack 20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation.
  • Wear open toe sandals. If it’s chilly and you want to wear socks, find an old pair and cut a hole in the end to keep it away from the painful toe.
  • Try to relax, because stress will just make the attack worse (let the party distract you, or try a good book, movie, or your favorite music)

Contact us as soon as possible when an arthritic attack begins, as treatment within 24 hours often helps lessen the severity. Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists office in Ladera Ranch, CA can be reached at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) or through a message online.