If you notice that your big toe is red, swollen, hot and painful, then you may be suffering from gout
attacks. This typically affects middle-aged and older men, and is due to the deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint spaces. The body's white blood cells attack these crystals as foreign objects, causing an inflammatory reaction that accounts for the symptoms. In over fifty percent of cases, the big toe is the first part of the body that is affected. This process can be extremely painful, and some patients note that even something as light as a bed sheet resting on the foot can cause extreme pain.
If this sounds like what you have been experiencing, you should talk to your primary care doctor
. He/she can provide you with instructions on how to get over the acute attack (such as with non-steroidal medications like ibuprofen) and how to prevent future attacks from coming with the use of additional medication and lifestyle modifications (such as cutting down on the amount of red meat and alcohol in the diet).