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Hand Swelling

Hand Swelling

Hand swelling is a form of edema, wherein there are a myriad causes. This article provides some information about the causal factors for swelling in the hands and some home remedies to reduce this condition.
Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
A swollen hand may be manifested on only one side or both sides, based on what causes the problem. The term unilateral hand swelling is used for one-sided condition. While many people experience pain with swelling hands, others may not. It is obvious that hands and legs are some of the most frequently used body parts. So pain, swelling, bruises, and other mild conditions are commonly experienced over these regions.


Swelling of hands can be due to several factors. It is a common problem put forth by regular walkers as well. Swollen hands can be caused by either too little movement of hands or excessive movement. Also, swollen hands and feet are the side effects of some medications. So, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact causes for hand swelling. Presented below are the probable medical reasons for this condition.
  • Overexertion of the hands is a probable reason for manifesting swollen hands. Thus, people whose occupation calls for frequent hand movement often report right hand swelling along with pain symptoms.
  • Physical injury or a hard blow to the hands result in a swollen condition. Along with the increase in size, the affected area may be reddened, bruised, discolored, and inflamed.
  • Upon exposure to allergens, the body's immune system responds by secreting histamines in larger amounts. This in turns triggers inflammation, resulting in the swelling of the hands, legs, face, and other areas.
  • Swelling during exercise is not an unusual condition. While the exact reason is not known, it may be related to increased energy requirements of the muscles and reduced blood circulation. The same case is applicable to swelling hands during and after walking.
  • Another reported case is swelling of the hands during pregnancy. This is basically due to water retention problem or edema (fluid collection in the tissues). Swelling is not only observed in the hands, but it is also present in the ankles and feet.
  • Swollen hands due to edema is not restricted to pregnant women. Even other adults experience idiopathic edema, which may cause hand swelling and itching symptoms. What happens is, swelling causes the skin to expand, resulting in pain and itchy symptoms.
  • Besides inflammation of the joints, hand swelling and pain are accompanying signs of most arthritis types (examples include polycythemia vera, systemic lupus erythematosus, and fibromyalgia amongst others).
  • In addition to hand arthritis, other suspected diseases for causing swollen hands are carpal tunnel syndrome (a nerve disorder) and Buerger's disease (a disease related to peripheral blood vessels).
  • Swelling at night is basically due to poor blood circulation, which causes blood pooling in the limb extremities. This is more common in people who have low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Hand and feet swelling should not be neglected, if the condition is observed in the extremities. This can be a sign of underlying heart, kidney, and liver diseases.
Ways to Reduce Hand Swelling

Mild swelling of the hands is not a subject to worry about, until and unless the condition persists for many days, or the condition affects one's daily routine. For cases of painful hand swelling, the treatment approaches are based on the causes. The traditional remedies to reduce swelling in hands are taking rest, applying cold and warm compresses, elevation therapy, wearing compression gloves, reducing salt intake, and drinking adequate amount of water to promote detoxification.

In case of exercise triggered swollen hands and feet, it will subside gradually. There is no reliable remedy, except for resting and waiting for the swelling to reduce on its own. For pregnancy-related hand swelling, performing mild exercises, sleeping on left side, drinking ample amounts of water, and having good food are some tips to reduce the condition. For chronic swelling of the hands, contact a doctor and discuss the condition for prompt treatment.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.