goutIn this age of gyms on every corner and fitness-focused reality television shows and entire networks, it’s easy to think of a high-impact workout as a panacea for all kinds of physical ailments. But the truth of the matter is far more complex. For people suffering from gout, choosing which exercises to do and when to perform them is complicated by the fact that the crystals formed in their joints can actually exacerbate pain.

Gout is caused by the excessive accumulation of uric acid in the blood. This acid can cause crystals to collect in the big toes, elbows and other joints. The result is inflammation that causes incredible pain whenever these joints are flexed.

When someone with gout suffers one of these attacks, the first priority should always be to reduce inflammation. Your physician will coordinate your use of anti-inflammatory medications. To minimize gout crystals, patients must rest the affected joints, apply ice and take anti-inflammatory medications. High-impact exercise during an attack will only result in intense pain and the possibility of making things even worse. Although exercise is always important, performing the appropriate exercises at the right times is a tricky balancing act.

We can teach you stretching exercises to gently move your joints through their full range of motion. Low-impact endurance exercises will also help. Swimming is a good exercise because the body moves gently through the water with low impact on the joints. Cycling is a good alternative to running or jogging because your feet don’t pound the ground as you pedal.

Gout frequently—and notoriously—attacks the big toe, but it also affects other joints, sometimes one by one, sometimes in combination. You will need to adjust your exercises and their intensity depending on how you are personally affected by the disease.

We can develop the right program for you with an eye to reducing your attacks and their intensity. Call us for an appointment when your gout is diagnosed or when a flare-up occurs. Proactive exercise can go a long way to reducing painful symptoms and improving your quality of life when gout rears its ugly head.

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