Gout: leisure and social activities

Most people felt that gout attacks had a big impact on their leisure and social activities, although some tried to carry on as normal. Some people did not feel like socialising or were worried that other people would knock or bump into their joint, so preferred to be alone. Joe said that ‘you haven’t got a life’ when an attack happens, and like other people we spoke to, finds it hard to walk because of the pain. People found it hard to enjoy social activities even if they were sat down, for example at the theatre.
A few people lost contact with friends and acquaintances when they stopped going to the pub so that they could cut down on their drinking. Some were more cautious than before of overindulging in food or alcohol at social events because they believed that they could trigger an attack. 
Jacqui was doing a lot of exercise when she had her first attack. She couldn’t continue doing as much as she did and noticed the impact on her fitness. Others had to stop playing sports such as golf, football and cricket. Simon had to give up football because of the long-term damage of gout on his joints. Jeff couldn’t get his golf shoes on during an attack or walk around the course. Tony Y, though, finds that playing golf during an attack is painful to start with but the pain eases after a while. 
People who had attacks on holiday sometimes found that it limited their activities more than when they were at home. Tony X felt that an attack he got while on a walking holiday affected him a lot because he could not do all the things that he wanted to. Eddie had an attack when he was in Australia, but did not feel that it spoilt his holiday. 
Taking preventative medication every day (e.g. allopurinol) often meant that gout affected people’s lives less. Carole is pleased that she can now enjoy her hobby – competing in agility competitions with her dogs – because her attacks no longer stop her from taking part (for more see ‘Long-term treatment to lower uric acid and prevent gout attacks and long-term problems’).

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Last reviewed December 2016


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