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Swollen Hands and Fingers

Swelling of hands and fingers should not be overlooked as it may indicate an underlying disease. The probable causes of swollen hands and fingers are idiopathic edema, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and blood disorders among others.
Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Hand swelling is a commonly experienced medical condition, which is caused due to increased fluid volume in the affected part. Generally associated with swollen legs and joint swelling, it can be present in one or both sides. While physical trauma or injury is one of the known causes for this medical condition, the exact reasons for swollen hands, fingers, and feet are difficult to identify. Understanding the possible causes of swollen hands, along with home treatment for the same, will help in getting relief from the discomfort symptoms.
Being some of the most exploited body parts, the hands and fingers are prone to overuse and discomfort symptoms. Swelling of hands and fingers in pregnancy is quite common, which is resulted due to water retention in the body. It is also a common sign of premenstrual syndrome in women. Likewise, most cases of hand swelling in elderly citizens are attributed to retention of fluids. The water buildup in certain body parts is because of increased fluid volume in the body cells and tissues.
Swollen hands and legs while walking is also reported by walkers and joggers, particularly at the start of their exercise regimen. In majority of the reported cases, swollen hands and feet are resulted due to idiopathic edema. As the term 'idiopathic' signifies, the exact reason for fluid buildup is not known. Another causal factor for hand swelling is carpal tunnel syndrome, which disturbs the normal functioning of the upper limb.
Any abnormality in the liver and kidney may also cause the hands, fingers, and other parts to swell a bit. These major internal organs are responsible for filtration of body fluids, and their abnormal functioning can lead to excess water retention in the body parts. In addition, swelling of hands and fingers can be a referred sign of heart disease, arthritis, thyroid malfunction, blood disorders, and infections. For such serious medical problems, swollen hands is usually associated with other prominent symptoms.
Though all of us can experience unusual swelling of hands, overweight and obese people are at higher risk of manifesting this problem than others. Many times, it recovers on its own without causing further medical complications. However, as with other physical symptoms, hand and finger swelling should not be neglected at any cost. The treatment for this discomfort condition starts with self-care tips, of which some are discussed in the following points.
  • Do not be in the misconception that fluid retention is exacerbated with water intake. On the contrary, drink lots of water to flush out accumulated fluids.
  • Performing stretching exercises of the hands and repetitive finger clenching are helpful to promote blood circulation in the affected parts, which in turn reduces swelling.
  • Another easy way to reduce swelling in the hands and fingers is moving the hands properly during walking exercise. Swing the hands in a proper manner to increase blood circulation.
  • Do not panic if you have swollen hands and fingers in the morning. This may be because of unusual sleep position. Be calm and keep your hands in an elevated position for some time to reduce swelling.
  • Increased salt intake is known to trigger swollen hands and swollen fingers in healthy adults. Hence, reducing sodium intake in the daily diet and keeping it at the minimum recommended level will help in reducing edema condition.
  • If alcohol consumption is the root cause for hand and finger swelling, refraining from alcoholic beverages is imperative to avoid water retention. Reducing alcohol intake and substituting with water is a sure way to treat hand swelling for alcoholics.
After following self-care tips for swelling hands and fingers, most probably fluid retention in hands will improve effectually. Nevertheless, if hand swelling is manifested without apparent reason, and if the condition persists for 2 consecutive days, one should get it checked by a qualified physician. Once in the clinic, the doctor will examine the physical signs thoroughly. If required, diagnostic tests are performed to rule out possible medical problems. According to the test results, appropriate treatment will be recommended for the patient.