Keith’s GoutPal Story 2020 Forums Please Help My Gout! Go to work or take time off?

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  • #3172

    My background:

    I've had gout for 5 years! The attacks vary but some have lasted months. The best advice I've gotten came from this site: Drink Lots Of Water! I made sure to drink at least 100 oz. per day and had a nearly 2 year run with only minor discomfort. I had a busy week and got complacent so now I'm 10 days into a major attack. If you've had gout then you know how it goes: each day is like a week – enough said. My job requires a lot of daily travel and walking and I've rarely taken time off work during attacks. I use a cane or crutches and survive the day, then come home and crash in bed.


    Am I prolonging the attack by doing this? I have plenty of sick days and can use them anytime…would it be best to do bedrest and just stay off my feet?



    Crawl to work with gout? Or stay in sick bed?

    First, I am not a gout sufferer – my husband is.  We have had a lot of kind & helpful advice here & have learnt a lot from GP's info & other's experience.

    I would like to do my bit & advise you here!  This is any easy one for me now, having made the same mistakes in life myself & seeing my hubby the day after “over-doing it”.

    1) Weight bearing on inflammed joints will aggravate it at best & possibly cause chronic damage & possibly incapacity at worst.

    2) Although you may feel really bad about not turning into work – in years to come, or sooner, you will wish you had looked after yourself.

    3) People may feel irritated that you aren't coming in, but they will have moved on & forgotten you while you are still paying for it!

    4) No matter what inconvenience your absence will cause both colleagues & clients, life will go on & it will only be a quickly forgotten hiccough to them.

    Obviously you don't want to loose your job but it sounds as though you are able to take time off.  Would it help to discuss with your employer your current situation & reassure them that you are taking steps to control the gout?

    My husband tends to start moving a little bit too soon & is predictably worse again the next day.  At last he is beginning to learnSmile.  Its good health-wise to move the others joints if you can to reduce problems of immobility eg, thrombosis, muscle wastage, reduction in stamina etc – eg sit ups, arm weights without going mad!  It also keeps your heart/ circulation/immune system in good condition. I know, I've never personally had gout & it must be hard to move part of your body whilst keeping another bit absoloutley still!

    Believe me, I have personal experience here! Turned into work half dead until collapsed – & then went back for more – its just not worth it – & that is in the “caring” profession NHS!Wink


    The official advice is to rest, but it is not strong advice – i.e. not backed by strong evidence.

    My personal experience is that gout attacks go quicker if I keep mobile. That does not mean over exerting the joint, but trying to get as much gentle exercise as possible. Also keep the joint warm and avoid restricting blood supply. This can be difficult when traveling because often the knees are bent, which doesn't help.

    What are other peoples experiences?


    My response crossed with Juliana's. I hope it doesn't look like I'm disagreeing with her.

    I should have stressed the gentle in gentle exercise. What I found with complete bed rest is that I felt very stiff after a couple of days, and if the original attack was, for example, in the ankle, then it felt like my whole foot was difficult to walk on. If I keep walking a little, and then resting with the affected foot raised, the attack seems to go quicker, and I get back to full mobility quicker.

    On the work side, I found that sitting or standing for long periods makes the gout attack last longer. I have put this down to restricted blood flow, but it could also be due to aggravating the swelling due to too much excercise. The key is as much rest as possible, but not total immobility – Juliana's advice is sound and clear on that point.


    I always did what I was able to do and that usually meant getting around with crutches. Only once was I completely bedridden.

    DON'T  put weight on an inflamed foot, nor wear anything except the softest cloth shoe or sllippers, but if you can make do with crutches (swinging the sore foot), do so.

    The old saw is applicable here:

    Patient: “Doctor, it HURTS when I do that.”

    Doctor: “Well then, don't DO that!”


    Because of limited allowable time off from work, I almost have always had to go in when I'm suffering from an attack.  Getting to and from work is the worst, especially if it's a knee that is going through the attack.  Driving is horribly painful (and probably dangerous).  Getting from the car across the parking lot to my building is also a huge hassle.  Then, there is the inevitable climb up two large flights of stairs to my office.  Once there, I hunker down and don't leave for the day.  I try to prepare the best I can by bringing my food, drinks and any meds I may need with me.  Luckily, most of my work is done from a computer, so I don't have to be that mobile.  It still is miserable sitting there all day with my joints throbbing away, trying to maintain some type of positivity and joy while dealing with demanding customers.

    When the attacks are too bad to go in to work, I have to take my vacation days in order to stay home or go to the doctor.  For the past 8 years, my vacation time has been severly limited and even completely used up by staying home becaue of gout.  These are instances when I absolutely can not walk and am in so much pain that even getting out of bed is nearly impossible.  I've lived in some pretty fantastic places during this time.  It kills me knowing that I can not fully take advantage of travel opportunities or take any extended time off because I've used all of my vacation to deal with gout.  I've luckily had some kind enough managers every now and then that have allowed me to work extra hours so I can take a day or two here or there, but this usually ends up adding to my stress load and wears me out more than anything.  Doing this for so long really put me in a funk and I'm still dealing with it right now.  Things are getting better, though.  Because of this site, I've learned to take control of my gout and look forward to a more pleasant future.  Seriously.  This site has been wonderful and has put me on the right track.  Thank you for that, GoutPal!

    To be a bit more specific, though, I think I tend to move a bit too much when I'm undergoing an attack, using the affected joint way more than I should.  I don't condone lying in bed all day, even during the worst attacks.  I think it's important to try and be somewhat mobile in order to increase blood flow, but I do have a tendency to overdo things too.  In my experience, I find a balance of sufficient rest with movement that doesn't stress the gout to be the most effective.  I used to go skiing with horribly swollen ankles or elbows or wrists that wouldn't bend, drinking sufficient booze to numb the pain.  I caused way more damage and greatly increased the time of recovery from my attacks by being such a bloody dunderhead and a pig-headed idiot.  I know better now!    

    The old saw is applicable here:

    Patient: “Doctor, it HURTS when I do that.”

    Doctor: “Well then, don't DO that!”

    Exactly, zip! Cool

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