Do Heating Pads or Ice Packs Relieve the Pain of Gout?

Ice packs are often used to relieve the pain of gout, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Patients should elevate the affected limb, as well. A cold compress is an appropriate substitute for ice, states the American College of Rheumatology.

In a 2006 study, no patients with gout benefited from the use of heat to relieve pain, as reported in the "Journal of Clinical Rheumatology" and published by the National Institutes of Health. However, some experts believe that neither ice nor heat is appropriate for treating gout flare-ups, says HowStuffWorks. Uric acid crystals tend to form quicker in low temperatures. On the other hand, heat increases circulation, so more white blood cells go to the affected joint. This increases inflammation and pain.