Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. It is caused by hyperuricemia - an overproduction or underexcretion of uric acid in the blood. This can lead to the deposition of uric acid crystals, or monosodium urate, in body tissue, which causes inflammation.
Gout often occurs in the big toe first, and can go on to attack the ankles, heels, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. When the condition first arises, symptoms normally disappear within a few days. But as time goes on, attacks can occur more frequently and last longer.