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Gout in Knee

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by excess uric acid buildup in the body. When uric acid crystals precipitate out in the joints, it results in sudden onset of swelling, redness, heat, and extreme pain known as a gout attack or flare.

The knee is one of the joints most susceptible to gout. Learning about causes, treatments, risk factors, and prevention helps manage debilitating knee gout.

What Causes Gout in Knee?

During a gout flare, uric acid crystals deposit in the joint synovial fluid and lining. This triggers intense inflammation as the immune system reacts to the perceived threat. Common causes contributing to knee gout include:

  •   Purine-rich foods like red meat, seafood, and alcohol increase uric acid production.
  •   Obesity stresses joints and increases uric acid.
  •   Dehydration reduces uric acid excretion through urine.
  •   Injuries or trauma to a joint spur local uric acid deposition.
  •   Medical conditions including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and kidney dysfunction inhibit proper uric acid elimination.
  •   Certain medications like diuretics, aspirin, and cyclosporine impact uric acid levels.
  •   Genetics can predispose individuals to gout-causing metabolic irregularities.

How Do You Treat Gout in the Knee?

Treating acute gout attacks utilizes a combination of strategies including:

  • NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen help relieve inflammation and knee pain.
  • Steroids: Injecting steroid compounds directly into the inflamed joint provides targeted relief.
  • Colchicine: This gout-specific drug reduces swelling and pain.
  • Rest: Avoid standing or activities that aggravate the affected knee until swelling resolves.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs helps reduce localized knee swelling and discomfort.

For chronic management, medications that reduce uric acid like allopurinol and febuxostat prevent recurrences. Severe cases may necessitate joint replacement surgery.

Gout in Joints

While the big toe is most infamous, gout frequently strikes joints like knees, ankles, fingers, wrists and elbows. Causes include:

  • Previous joint injury: Trauma and osteoarthritis increase uric acid crystal formation in the damaged area.
  • Lower body focus: Uric acid settles downwards so feet, ankles and knees tend to be initial targets.
  • Joint structure: Joints with more space for fluid accumulation around ligaments and tendons allow easier crystal deposition.
  • Temperature: Subtle cooling of extremities correlates with more lower body flares.
  • Repeated stress: Years of walking, running, squatting, etc. may provoke knee gout.

How to Prevent Gout

Preventing painful gout requires a combination of lifestyle measures:

  •   Stay hydrated to facilitate uric acid excretion through urine.
  •   Avoid trigger foods high in purines like red meat, seafood, and alcohol.
  •   Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce strain on joints.
  •   Limit consumption of sugars, refined carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup.
  •   Get lab screening for early detection of elevated uric acid levels.
  •   Take prescribed uric acid medications like allopurinol regularly.
  •   Don’t abruptly stop taking gout medications without medical guidance.

Consistency with prevention techniques reduces gout recurrence frequency and severity long-term.

Foods to Avoid with Gout

  •   Organ meats like liver which are very high in purines.
  •   Red meat, lamb and game meats.
  •   Fatty fish and shellfish including tuna, mackerel, sardines, scallops, shrimp and roe.
  •   Sugary drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
  •   Excessive alcohol intake which interferes with uric acid excretion.
  •   Refined carbohydrates including white breads, crackers and pastries.
  •   Packaged low-fat or non-fat foods with added sugars.

Focusing diet on low purine vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, plant proteins and staying hydrated keeps gout flares at bay.

While genetics play a role, paying attention to lifestyle habits provides significant control over gout management. Learning triggers, watching for early signs of a flare, avoiding high-risk foods and activities, and staying on doctor recommended uric acid medication prevents recurrent agonizing gout attacks. With diligence, gout’s excruciating effects can be minimized.

What are the Best Foods to Eat When You Have Gout?

A gout-friendly diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based protein. Excellent food choices include:

  •   Fresh fruits like berries, pineapple, apples and citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. Tart cherry juice may reduce uric acid levels.
  •   Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes provide nutrients without spiking blood sugar.
  •   High-fiber whole grain foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat aid digestion and stabilize insulin response.
  •   Legumes including beans, peas and lentils for plant-based protein without the purines found in meats.
  •   Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and nuts help manage cholesterol and inflammation.
  •   Herbal teas provide hydration without added sugars that exacerbate gout.

Focusing on these nutritious low-purine foods provides safe options to meet nutrition needs while avoiding gout triggers.

What are the Advantages of a Low-Purine Diet?

  •   Fewer recurrent gout flare ups and less chronic joint damage long-term.
  •   Reduced need for medications and their potential side effects.
  •   Achievement of a healthier weight, blood sugar and blood pressure.
  •   Increased energy levels and sense of wellbeing from nutritious whole foods.
  •   Better digestion and gut health aided by dietary fiber.
  •   Lower medical costs from less frequent gout complications.

While initially challenging to transition to, a thoughtfully planned low-purine diet pays off in lasting gout relief and improved overall health.