Doctor-recommended treatments to alleviate gout and prevent future acute attacks include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and colchicine, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The painful condition is the result of excessive uric acid build-up - often in the big toe - and commonly related to the excessive consumption of alcohol and red meat.
Acute attacks are typically accompanied by extreme pain, swelling, redness and stiffness in the affected joint, explains NAIMS. To reduce the risk of an attack, patients are advised to drink plenty of water and avoid foods high in purines, which form uric acid as they are broken down. Maintaining a healthy body weight with daily exercise can also ward off gout. However, since extreme weight loss may increase uric acid levels, weight-loss plans should employ a gradual approach, warns NAIMS.
Resting the affected joints and applying cold compress provides relief from pain and inflammation within the joint, suggests WebMD. Most attacks begin to subside within three to 10 days, even when left untreated. Patients that develop tophi - formed from the extreme buildup of uric acid crystals - may need medications to shrink the nodules; surgery to remove large nodules causing deformity is plausible, but rare.