Gout Attacks: Is Running A Gout Trigger?

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When gout attacks occur and while trying to recover, moving is the least of things you’d like to do. This debilitating condition may bug you the whole day, with some cases extending up to three to ten days. As such, it is reasonable for one to know the gout triggers so they may avoid it from happening again.

Joggers or runners may want to hear a straight answer to the question of whether running can cause a gout trigger or not. While running and other strenuous activities may stress your joints, leading to an excruciating gout attack the next day, it is not the real culprit of your suffering. So before you miss a day of running, let us delve deeper into this gout issue to understand how running affects gout, other gout triggers, and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms and avoid another gout event.

Gout Triggers

Gout is a case of arthritis resulting from a build-up of uric acid crystals resulting in swollen and aching joints. As these crystals usually form in the knees, heels, and toes, one cannot easily walk or either move an affected region of the body without experiencing sharp pain. Thus, it would be impossible for someone to run or do almost anything while suffering from gout.

Gout triggers may vary, but it all points to an unhealthy diet and weight gain. The most affected parts of your body include knees and toes. For someone who loves to run, this could be a frustrating situation. Identifying the underlying cause would help determine the solutions that would help prevent gout flare-ups from taking place.

Foods Rich In Purine

Mussels one seafood that causes gout attacks

Purines are plant and animal substances that your body transforms into uric acid. Typically, it dissolves in your blood and goes through the kidneys into your urine. However, there are some cases when there’s too much uric acid in your body, or the kidneys are not excreting enough uric acid. The excess uric acid then forms into sharp urate crystals that appear in your joints, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling. 

To help prevent gout attacks, avoid purine-rich foods like the following:

  • Wild or game meats like veal and venison
  • Red meat
  • Seafood such as anchovies, scallops, mussels, sardines, and trout
  • Organs such as liver, liver sauce, pork blood, kidneys and sweetbreads
  • Fried foods 
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Sweetened beverages
  • Alcohol

One must limit or eliminate the consumption of the above foods and drinks to lower uric acid levels in their body more effectively.

Medical Condition And Medication

Medicines for high blood pressure control, heart failure, diuretics, beta-blockers, and even low-dose aspirins can cause gout attacks. Before you start taking in additional medication, let your doctor know that you have gout, and if there’s a specialized medicine for your condition that won’t trigger flare-ups.

Hospital visits, pneumonia, having surgery, and other medical-related activities can increase uric acid levels and trigger gout attacks. Avoiding such stress would help keep the cause at bay.


Kidneys get help from hydration in eliminating excess uric acid. If you don’t drink enough water, your kidney’s ability to flush out uric acid decreases.

Excess Weight

Overweight or obese people have elevated levels of uric acid, compared to those with healthy BMIs. Moreover, the kidneys experience stress and would need to work harder to eliminate uric acid.

Age, Sex and Family History

Older people are more susceptible to arthritis and gout. Women are at lesser risk than men before menopause. At the age of 60, the risk factors of becoming victim to gout attacks are at the same level for both genders.

Another factor to weigh in is the history of gout attacks in the family. Having a background of clan members having gout increases your risk of acquiring it eventually.

Strenuous Activities

While exercise is good for strengthening the body, excess workout stress on the joints may cause inflammation and lead to gout attacks the following day. People with high levels of uric acid must moderate exercise and not overdo it. 

For runners, as knee joints and big toes are the favorite targets of uric acid crystal build-up, it is recommended to run lightly after recovering from a recent gout attack. If this is not possible, opt for alternative physical exercise until the affected part can finally handle the tension received from running.

How To Prevent Gout Attacks

Preventing gout attacks relies on identifying the triggers. Upon realizing the causes, one should be able to determine the appropriate solution.

Avoiding foods high in purine should serve as the priority of someone who is at high risk of having gout attacks. Food and drinks that would help keep uric acid at normal levels include the following:

  • Apple
  • Cherries
  • French Bean Juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Low-Fat Dairy
  • Fresh Vegetable Juices
  • High-Fiber Foods
  • Olive Oil
  • Green Tea

Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and lose weight to help your kidneys function better.

Investing on a footwear with excellent arch support will also help reduce stress on the joints and avoid injury.

Continue to exercise moderately and avoid extreme pressure on parts affected by gout or arthritis.

Running And Gout

Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities in a week, such as brisk walking. These exercises are equivalent to 75 minutes of vigorous workouts, which include jogging and running. But when you have gout, jogging and running may cause an immense amount of stress to your joints. For someone who has a history of gout attacks, or experienced intense joint pain after a running activity, experts recommend to take a miss and try a different exercise until the symptoms of gout fade.

For some people who can’t quit running, they try to do this activity lightly during days when they feel much better. Days before and on the day of the race, runners make sure that they have sufficient hydration, have eaten healthy, and that they don’t feel any joint pain to make sure they won’t suffer from gout attacks.

Alternatively, gout victims find swimming and biking, a good alternative for running. These activities may suffice as it keeps the body healthy while waiting for uric acid levels to subside or fully recover from joint pains brought by gout.

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