Big Toe Pain That Doesn’t Go Away? 8 Out Of 10 Will Have This

August 12, 2020

The pain went away for a couple of hours a day, I thought I was cured each time, then I tried to walk… And it hurt like hell.

I thought gout was an extinct illness like chickenpox or something rare only old people had, but it wasn’t.

If you’re experiencing intermittent pain especially in one of your big toe joints… I may have to welcome you to the gout club.

Why Do I Experience Big Toe Pain When Walking? Is It Gout?

Not always, and I’m very sure the last thing you want to hear when googling “what causes pain in big toe” is “It hurts somewhere? Go to the doctor”.

Let me give you some really helpful advice I’ve acquired over my years of dealing with this.

My personal tips and tricks are at the bottom of this article, so keep reading, but first of all, I’d like to discuss a little bit more about gout.

What Is Gout?

Can I Get That Even If I’m Young And Healthy?

Gout is the disease caused by the formation of salt crystals of uric acid (urate sodium) in tissues, most commonly in joints. It’s most common for men between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can affect young adults or even children.

Below we share a decalogue that answers the most frequent questions that patients ask about this disease.

What Symptoms Does Gout Produce?

The most frequent is to suffer attacks of inflammation in the first metatarsophalangeal joint. That is the one that joins the big toe to the rest of the foot, especially on its external face.

It is usually an acute and very painful process that begins at night or first thing in the morning. The swelling and pain are so intense that it can wake you up and make even the slightest friction bother you.

It is usually accompanied by erythema or redness of the skin around this joint.

The attacks may initially last shorter and be milder. But if no remedy is applied to cure gout, they tend to become more and more intense and lasting.

Does Gout Only Cause Big Toe Joint Pain?

No. Although it is the first metatarsophalangeal joint and the most frequently affected. Gout can also inflame the tarsus (instep) of the foot or ankle. This might confuse the patient and inexperienced doctors into thinking it is a sprain. Even if they have not had trauma on that ankle.

It can also inflame other joints such as the knee, the elbow. Especially the olecranon bursa, which “cushions” the back of the elbow), the wrist, etc.

Can You Have A Gout Attack With Normal Uric Acid Levels?

Yes, this can occur in up to more than 50% of patients.

The levels of uric acid in the blood at the time of the attack of inflammation are not always representative of the number of urate crystals deposited in the joints.

There are patients with obvious attacks of gout who have normal uric acid. And there are also patients with high levels of it who nevertheless suffer a few symptoms.

Having normal uric acid in a laboratory test does not exclude the diagnosis of gout.

If Uric Acid Levels Are High In Blood Tests, Is It Gout?

Hyperuricemia and gout are two different concepts.

Hyperuricemia means having high uric acid in the blood. That is, levels above 6.8 mg / dL (7 mg / dL, by convention). Since that is its crystallization point.

We speak of gout when there are deposits of urate crystals in the tissues (joints, kidneys, etc.).

Nonetheless, only one in ten people with high uric acid will suffer from gout. It usually preceded and accompanied by chronic hyperuricemia.

Having high uric acid in the blood on a regular basis can reflect that we are unable to eliminate it correctly, that we produce more than normal or both.

If this lasts for years, it can lead to crystalline deposits, with various symptoms (joint, kidney, etc.). Or with the formation of lesions under the skin called tophi (aggregates of crystals).

When To Go To The Doctor for Big toe pain?

First of all, if you experience joint swelling or recurring pain without justifying a blow. Especially to the big toe, instep, ankle, or knee.

Also, if your uric acid levels are always high in blood tests. Especially if they increase significantly over the years or if they are especially high values ​​such as 9 or more.

Additionally, if there is a family history of gout in one or more members of your family and you have hyperuricemia.

Is Gout Caused By Certain Foods And Drinks?

Although diet is important, gout occurs in more than 90% of cases due to a problem with the elimination of uric acid by the kidney.

It is not advisable to consume foods rich in purines. For instance, beer (with and without alcohol), high alcoholic beverages, and sweetened beverages (soft drinks, etc.). Also, organ meats, red meat and game meat, seafood, and bluefish (sardines, anchovies, etc.).

Tomato can facilitate joint attacks in patients with gout. But moderate consumption of it does not usually cause problems. Since animal proteins produce more purines in our body than vegetables.

It is advisable to drink 1-2 liters of water a day (especially if there are urate kidney stones). Also, skimmed dairy products, cherries, foods rich in vitamin C, and coffee (moderate consumption) are beneficial.

Can Gout Be Cured Only By Taking Care Of Your Diet And Avoiding Alcohol?

In most cases, the answer is no.

Similarly to arterial hypertension which is not usually solved only by reducing the salt in meals. However, with daily antihypertensive medication, the patient with gout also needs the help of drugs to heal.

Most gout sufferers have spent years depositing urate in their tissues without them knowing or noticing it. These accumulations cannot be dissolved just by taking care of their diet (although this helps).

To dissolve the crystal deposits and thus cure gout, we need to use medication that decreases the production of purines (allopurinol, febuxostat) or increases their elimination (uricosuric, such as benzbromarone).

Do Colchicine Or Traditional Anti-Inflammatories Cure Gout?

No. They are medications frequently used in acute attacks of joint inflammation to relieve pain and swelling. But this only manages to remove the symptoms produced by urate crystals without eliminating them.

To definitively cure gout, we will need to dissolve those crystalline accumulations with the appropriate medication. However, this is not achieved in days or weeks, but a well-performed treatment over months and years, depending on each patient.

The deposition of uric acid crystals will only be resolved with constant medication, supervised by a doctor, and with healthy lifestyle habits.

Why a Medication To Dissolve Urate Crystals?

There Can Also Be Inflammatory Attacks? Yes, although it is paradoxical and surprising, this can and does occur frequently in patients with gout.

Especially, when drugs such as allopurinol, febuxostat, or benzbromarone are introduced without appropriate anti-inflammatory prophylaxis. Ultimately, making them mistakenly believe that they are more harmful than beneficial, when this is not true, If not the opposite.

In the first months (even 6-12 months, depending on the type of gout) that these drugs are introduced, an attempt should also be made to add a preventive treatment for attacks with low-dose colchicine. Or an equivalent anti-inflammatory such as low-dose naproxen (or even corticosteroids, in some patients).

Since in the first months that we begin to dissolve the crystal deposits, there is a greater risk of joint attacks.

Are Gout Or High Uric Acid Really Dangerous?

Gout is much more than a joint that occasionally becomes inflamed and painful. It produces a systemic inflammation and not only joint, as well as being able to affect vital organs such as the kidney.

Hyperuricemia and gout are also closely related to metabolic syndrome. So it is not uncommon to find several traditional risk factors in patients with gout. Such as obesity, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, etc.

All these factors enhance each other, turning these patients into patients with moderate or even high cardiovascular risk.

For this reason, the same attention and respect must be paid to uric acid levels in the blood as to lipid or glucose levels.

Hey Hey Slow Down! I Just Want To Walk Without My Toe Hurting, Not A Ph.D. In Gout

My bad!

We all know the best thing to do is visiting a doctor, but I didn’t do it for a long time, and we don’t judge in here, let me help you with your discomfort with some of my personal tips and tricks to relief big toe pain.

How To Get Rid Of Big Toe Pain For Free

This is the most important part of this post, as it will help you know almost for sure if you have gout or just some other self-healing kind of injury.

If these techniques banish your discomfort, you were just injured, if they just reduce the pain, you’ll most likely have gout.

Anyways, here they are:

1. Trim Your Toenails

Your toenails work as a lever with your toe joints, if they are just a bit long, that alone can really make the pain worse.

If you have a callus on your foot, scrubbing them will also help relieve the pressure and therefore, your pain.

2. Wear Comfortable Footwear

Thin socks, and wide shoes. Slippers if possible.

3. Watch How You Sit

This is an odd one, but I found out that the way I sat (One knee above the other one), was hurting a tendon connected to my big toe, making the pain worse.

4. Drink A Beer

Anxiety can keep your muscles tense, and make your toes push up inside your shoes, hurting your joints.

Drinking a single beer should help a lot if this happens to you.

5. Keep your feet warm

If you can, buy a big pair of slippers, and use some thick socks to fill in the extra space.

This will keep your feet warm, without increasing the pressure.

You’ll feel better in a matter of minutes.

These practices will absolutely help, but if you want to really banish the pain, visit, and get fast relief from that annoying big toe pain joint.