What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Gout in the Big Toe?

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The joint at the base of the big toe is a common location for gout.
The joint at the base of the big toe is a common location for gout. (Image: big foot image by Ingrid Walter from Fotolia.com)

Gout is a condition that results from an excessive buildup of uric acid in the body, which is called hyperuricemia. When uric acid cannot be excreted in the urine, it begins a formation of crystals that accumulate in the joints of the body. The joint at the base of the big toe is a common location for gout, which is a particularly painful form of arthritis. When gout is localized at the base of the big toe, it is referred to as podagra. Here are the most common symptoms associated with this ailment.

Pain

One of the worst and most common symptoms of gouty arthritis is sudden intense pain. In the case of podagra, the acute pain occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe. These sudden pain attacks frequently occur at night and have been known to wake sufferers out of a deep sleep.

Redness and Inflammation

As the uric acid crystals build up and accumulate around the joint of the big toe, the affected area begins to become inflamed. The swelling is accompanied by redness and a consistent feeling of heat. In most cases, this inflammation occurs in bouts lasting from a few hours to a few days.

Tenderness

Pain associated with gout is greatly intensified when the affected area is touched. Sufferers of podagra have reported unbearable pain after contact with no more than a bed sheet. This is especially problematic considering the amount of pressure exerted on the big toe joints when walking.

Fever

Uric acid crystals are perceived by the immune system as a foreign body. As the body tries to "fight off" these invaders, the result can be a fever. This is especially true for those who suffer frequent acute attacks of gout.

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