Is Ankle Swelling Gout or Not Gout?

Swelling of the ankles and feet can occur as a result of conditions that involve the local extremities or systemic conditions (gout, cellulitis, etc.) Localized activities such as injuries, infections or irritations may lead to a swollen ankle on the affected side. Disease of the joints, such as arthritis and gout often have associated symptoms that include the swelling and localized pain of areas such as the ankle. While swelling of the affected area is one symptom of gout, there can be other conditions, injuries and problems that could create a similar response or share symptoms with gout.

Think You Have Gout?

If you are not sure whether your ankle swelling is gout or not, take our quiz to find out if you have the signs and symptoms of gout.

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The best way to determine if a swollen ankle or any inflamed extremity is suffering from gout is by visiting a doctor. The best doctor to visit regarding joint pain is a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists specialized in arthritis and other joint related diseases and will have the medical knowledge and tools necessary to make a good diagnosis of your symptoms.

Ankle Gout Symptoms

Ankle swelling can also point to other injuries, conditions or diseases. Swelling caused by gout will often be accompanied by extreme (almost incapacitating) pain. If you feel no pain in the swollen area then there is a chance that it is not gout. Additionally, swelling caused by gout has characteristics that include: red/purple bruising, shiny, sore and tender to the touch and inflamed or swollen. Additionally, monitor the amount of inflammation and swelling, gout induced swelling will reach its maximum within 12 to 24 hours.

Previous Injuries

Gout has a tendency to afflict areas that suffered previous non-gout related damage. If you have had a previous injury in the area of swelling it is likely to be gout, but could also be chronic pain associated with the injury. Be sure to check with a doctor and advise them of previous injuries to help their assessment.

Available Medications

If diagnosed with gout, your doctor will likely prescribed a uric acid reducing medication. Depending on your personal characteristics, the dosage of the medication will vary and likely need to be increased if you suffer chronic gout attacks. There are no medications available for localized gout attacks as the medications provided affect the uric acid content in your blood.

Ankle Swelling and Pain Relief

Here are some solutions you can try for pain relief.

  • Epsom Salts
  • Soaking your feet in a bowl of a water and Epsom salt mixture can help to relax the affected area. It provides a soothing relief over the swelling allowing you mobility and relief from the pain and inflammation.

  • Ice or Heat
  • Using the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method can be helpful for gout and non-gout related ankle swelling. Keeping off your feet and minimizing strenuous activity will help your body in dealing with the pain. A cold compress, if applied right away can prevent or minimize swelling. Applying the cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes 3 times will help to reduce the swelling. After 48 to 72 hours, if the swelling has subsided, apply heat to the affected area to help with the pain. Be sure to never apply ice or heat directly to the skin, place a towel between the cold or hot packs and your skin to prevent injury. Compressing, or wrapping the injured area will help with swelling. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly or you can cause further swelling. Finally, elevate the injured area on pillows while apply heat and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Keeping the injured area above heart level will minimize swelling.

Proper diagnosis of your ankle swelling is an important step in finding the proper treatment and relief. Visit a doctor if your swelling does not subside within 24 to 48 hours and the pain increases so that they can make a proper assessment and help you get on the path to recovery.