Gout is typically characterized by a sudden onset of acute pain, redness, and swelling. It typically occurs in the big toe joint. There usually is no history of an injury to an area. One goes to bed, and the attack either occurs while you're sleeping, or you first notice it when you get out of the bed in the morning. Patients describe the pain as so intense that just sheets alone touching it can cause excruciating pain.
So what is it? How does it occur? Our bodies normally make uric acid when we break down purines. It's normal. Sometimes, however, we make too much uric acid, either through overproduction or under-excretion. Purines are normal in our body. Purines also can occur in some foods. If we get too much purines, our bodies can't handle the amount of uric acid it makes. The uric acid is then converted into urate crystals. Urate crystals are tiny needle-like crystals that get deposited in your joint.
It typically occurs on your first attack in your big toe joint. On subsequent attacks, it can occur in any joint.
Gout is a serious condition, but the good news is, through diet modification and medications, it can be well-controlled.