A patient with gouty arthritis may experience frequent attacks of gout, which may present with painful, inflamed, red, hot joints. Apart from medication, patients are advised hot application on the affected joints to minimize the pain. However, recent research indicates that cold application or ice therapy too is found to be quite useful as an adjunct treatment of acute gouty arthritis.
This research was conducted among 19 participants suffering with acute gout. They were divided into two groups; the first group was given ice therapy along with an analgesic (medicine) such as oral prednisone and colchicine, while the second group was given only analgesics (ice therapy was not given). This treatment process was continued for 6 days.
After a week, the participants were analysed and it was found that the group that was treated with ice therapy had a significantly greater reduction in pain as compared to the other group (without ice therapy).
The joint circumference and synovial fluid (lubricating fluid of the joints) volume was also effectively reduced along with pain in the first group of patients (who were given ice therapy) as compared to the second group. Hence, it was concluded that ice therapy or cold application may prove to be beneficial for patients during an acute attack of gout. However, these improvements did not achieve statistical significance as the group size group used in the research was small.