One of the most common causes of pain in the big toe joint of the foot is known as gout. Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by too much uric acid in the blood, and affects more men than women. The most common joint affected in gout is the big toe joint.
Uric acid is a natural waste product of the body that is normally filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys and excreted during urination. Patients with gout have an abnormal metabolism that reduces the kidneys’ effectiveness. Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood it can stop being dissolved in the blood and forms painful crystalline deposits in one or more joints or soft tissues, usually in the feet and legs. The most commonly affected joints are the big toe and knee.
Signs and symptoms
The classic symptoms of gout are swelling, redness, warmth and a stabbing or throbbing pain in the affected joint. The main symptom is waking up in the middle of the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for around three or four hours and will then subside and usually not return for a few months.
Repeated gouty attacks can cause gouty arthritis within big toe joint. This type of arthritis often causes erosions or destruction of the surfaces of the joint. That can lead to limited joint movement. A podiatrist can prescribe a custom made orthotics or a surgery may be required to remove the uric acid crystals and repair the joint.