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Emergency Department Discharge Instructions

Gout

Emergency Care Discharge Instructions

Instruction summary

Gout is a disease that causes inflammation (swelling) of the joints. Most commonly, it causes inflammation of the big toe, or of the knee. Gout can be extremely painful.

Some foods make gout worse. Avoid rich, fatty foods such as gravy, wild game, anchovies, scallops, and shrimp. Also avoid red meat, pork, poultry, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower and spinach. It is important that you drink a lot of fluids, but do not drink alcohol.

If you have been given a medication to prevent future gout attacks, take it as directed.

In the ER, you may have been prescribed a medication to reduce the inflammation, such as indomethacin or ibuprofen. Take this as directed. You may have also been prescribed colchicine, which is usually effective but it can cause nausea.

Another way to reduce the inflammation is to apply cold to the area (such as placing a frozen bag of peas on the joint). Place the icepack (wrapped in a thin towel) on the area for ≈10 minutes, and then allow the skin to return to normal temperature before putting the icepack on it again. The cold helps to takes away the swelling in the area.

See your family doctor if things are not improving in a few days.

Reasons to return to the ER
  • Fever (≥38.0 °C or 100.4 °F)
  • If you cannot bend or move your joint at all
  • Increasing skin redness