Holy mother of pearl. If you have ever suffered from this you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't I hope you never do. Mine flared up about a week ago. I tried to gut it out but decided to go to the doctor late last week. Gout is a build up of excess uric acid in the blood stream. It then crystalizes and precipitates out into a joint- the big toe is quite common. Its hurts for a bed sheet to touch it much less shoes and socks. Needless to say my fitness routine has temporarily shifted away from running/hiking to other forms of cardio.