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Physical Therapy for Gout – Information, Exercises, and More

It happened again. You were rudely awakened from a deep sleep by excruciating pain in your left big toe. The pain is off the charts and your tingling, swollen toe is a deep shade of purple.

It’s time to get serious about your gout. Pain medication has provided a little relief, but surely there’s more you can do to get back on your feet — literally.

Keep reading to learn more about physical therapy treatment for gout, how it can help, and where to find the top-rated physical therapists in Orange County.


What Causes Gout?

Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, a condition where there is too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a byproduct of purines, which naturally occur in your body and many of the foods you eat.

Excess Uric Acid

The body makes uric acid when it breaks down substances called purines

If your body becomes overloaded with too much uric acid, uric acid crystals can build up in your joints, tissues, and body fluids, causing gout.

High-Purine Foods

Certain foods that are high in uric acid can cause gout attacks. These include:

  • Sugar
  • Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup
  • Alcohol
  • Organ meats
  • Wild game meats
  • Some seafood, including herring, mussels, codfish, scallops, tuna, trout, and haddock
  • Red meats, including beef, lamb, bacon, and pork 
  • Turkey

Preexisting Medical Conditions

Gout can also be caused by medical conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Anemia
  • Leukemia or other blood-related cancers

Gout Symptoms

The Sudden Onset of Severe Pain

The first sign of gout is often extreme pain — either in one of your big toes or another joint.

This first attack frequently occurs at night, and the pain may be extreme enough to awaken you. It’s often so severe that even having the painful joint covered by a blanket is unbearable.

The pain can last anywhere from a week to several months, sometimes ebbing and flowing in severity. 

Generally, the pain is most severe in the first 12 to 24 hours of the attack, but this will vary.

Joint Issues

Many people with gout will find it affects their joints, typically in the: 

  • Big toe
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Foot
  • Hand
  • Wrist; or 
  • Elbow

The joint may become noticeably discolored, turning deep red or purple at the onset, and changing color as the attack progresses.

Swollen joints become stiff and hot to the touch. The individual may spike a fever of up to 102.2℉ and may experience chills.

They may also suffer from decreased mobility in the affected joint.


Another occasional symptom of gout is tophi. These large, hard, visible bumps are made of uric acid crystals. 

Tophi can form in: 

  • Joints
  • Cartilage; or 
  • Bone

Rarely an early sign of gout, tophi tend to occur in those who had gout for a while. Not every person suffering from gout gets tophi. 

Occasionally, tophi may become infected or begin pressing on a nerve and cause pain, but otherwise, they rarely cause physical discomfort.

The biggest problem with tophi, aside from their unsightly appearance, is that they can cause damage to joints and cartilage that eventually leads to bone erosion. Over time, this can result in significant deformity and even disability.

Gout Treatment

Low-Purine Diet

A low-purine diet limits foods high in uric acid, which is naturally found in many common foods. 

A low-purine diet generally centers around …

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables; and 
  • Whole grains 

… while limiting the consumption of red meat, seafood, and alcohol. 


Medication is commonly used to help control the symptoms of gout.

The most regularly prescribed drugs for gout include:

  • NSAIDs to help reduce pain and swelling 
  • Colchicine to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to relieve pain and swelling 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy treatment for gout is a wise option to pursue. 

Treatments may include things such as:

  • Ultrasound
  • Electric muscle stimulation
  • Laser therapy
  • Ice and or heat therapy
  • Therapeutic mobility exercises; and
  • Manual massage

Gout Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?


Physical therapy treatment for gout can go a long way toward speeding healing and getting you on the path to recovery. 

2 Physical Therapy Treatments for Gout

#1: Inflammation Reduction

A key factor in physical therapy treatment for gout is reducing inflammation. 

This may be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Ultrasound
  • Laser therapy
  • Electric muscle stimulation
  • Ice and/or heat therapy

#2: Improved Range of Motion

Once pain and inflammation are under control, the next thing to focus on in physical therapy treatment for gout is improving range of motion to the affected joint.

This may be done through:

  • Manual massage
  • Therapeutic mobility exercises

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Gout

If you’re suffering from the pain of gout, In Motion O.C.’s experienced physical therapists are here to help.

Rated the #1 physical therapy clinic in the entire United States on Yelp, we’ve helped dozens, if not hundreds, of gout patients:

  • Find relief from pain
  • Regain strength and range of motion; and
  • Get back to normal life

And we have testimonials and case studies to prove it!

Give In Motion O.C. a call today to schedule your consultation and let us help you on your road to recovery from gout.

In Motion O.C.