Puffy hands, fingers, feet, morning, joint pain, evening

Swollen hands are a sign of accumulated fluid or inflammation in the tissues or joints of the hand.

The swelling of the hand is also known as hand edema and can be caused by severe infections, violence, and other disease processes.

A swollen hand always causes pain, excess fluid can be stored without causing inflammation.
The swelling can appear suddenly or increase slowly.

Causes of swollen hands

There are many conditions that cause pain or discomfort, swelling, problems with grabbing and overheating of the hands.

Infection can cause a swollen hand.
A phlegmon, for example, is a serious skin bacterial infection that causes redness, pain, swelling, and overheating.
The infection can spread to lymph nodes and blood and can be fatal if not treated in time.

Poison ivy, poison oak and sumac
The toxin found in poison ivy, poison oak and sumac can cause an allergic rash and itchy blisters.

A skin abscess or boil is a swollen, painful, red and overheated skin lump that can rupture and release pus.

Angioedema is a swelling under the skin that mainly occurs on the eyes and lips.

Frostbite affects the skin and the underlying tissue, it is caused by exposure to cold.
The skin becomes very cold, tingles, hardens and turns red. As a rule, the extremities and less perfused areas of the body are affected, such as fingers and toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.

insect bites
Redness, swelling, pain, itching and pimples are the most common symptoms of insect bites.

Burns can cause blisters and symptoms ranging from burning and pain to shortness of breath.

Burns are caused by excessive heat and can cause pain, swelling, skin changes, and blistering, depending on the severity of the burn.

XJ tendons finger extensor

Injuries and injuries to hands and fingers

Hand injuries are another common cause of inflammation. The lesions can also cause fluid to build up in the injured region, causing edema.
Swelling of the hand is also noticeable after sprains, tears, broken bones, dislocations or contusions.
This creates a bruise or bruise, the hand hurts and changes color; it first turns red, then violet, blue or black, later yellow and is finally greenish in color.

hand fracture
A broken hand bone is not uncommon, it can cause pain, swelling and bruising.

Osteomyelitis is an infectious bone infection that is accompanied by pain, swelling, and redness.

Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon; if it occurs at the end of a limb, swelling in the hand or foot may be visible; however, it is extremely rare for the shoulder, knee or elbow to swell due to tendonitis.
Tendonitis can be acute due to trauma or as a result of exertion (e.g. tightening a screw).

Hand arthrosis occurs when there is damage to the articular cartilage, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling.
Older people are particularly affected.

Arthritis is a condition that can cause the hands to swell.
Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, aching hands and joints.
The doctor may take X-rays and exams to determine what type of arthritis is causing the symptoms and then determine the appropriate form of treatment.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis affects children and adolescents.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that usually affects the hands and causes stiffness, pain, swelling, and deformity.

Medicines that can cause swollen hands
The doctor must know which medications and treatments are currently being used: prescription and over-the-counter medications, food supplements, medicinal plants and alternative forms of treatment.
The following medications can be a possible cause of swollen hands:

  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • Diabetes medications
  • Medicines for high blood pressure
  • Hormone therapy for menopause
  • cortisone means
  • Calcium antagonists and vasodilators can cause edema

Organic diseases
Swollen hands can result from an organic disease. Kidney disease can be responsible for the swelling because the body cannot release the excess fluid; as a rule, however, the legs swell more than the hands in this case.
The lymphatic system helps rid the body of fluid and swelling that can occur when the system is weakened by cancer or other health problems.

Activity and inactivity can cause swollen hands
Sitting for a long time in the same position may cause slight edema.
Even after intensive training, swelling of the hand can often be observed, because the flow of blood to the heart, lungs and muscles reduces the blood supply in the hands.
Sweating leads to a loss of fluids and minerals in the body and can increase the swelling of the hands.

Too high or too low a concentration of sodium can be another cause of swollen hands.
Excessive salt consumption can cause fluid to escape from the blood vessels and flow into the surrounding tissues. If you drink too much water, especially in endurance sports like marathon, the sodium concentration can thin out and an electrolyte imbalance can occur, which is known as hyponatremia.
One of the signs of sodium deficiency is swelling, although other signs, such as confusion or vomiting, may be more prominent.

Swelling in certain circumstances

Swollen hands during pregnancy
The hands may swell during pregnancy or as a premenstrual symptom. Pregnant women or women suffering from premenstrual syndrome store water all over the body.
The swelling can be quite significant, especially during pregnancy, because the body increases the amount of blood and fluid by about 50%.

The affected women often complain of tingling in their fingers.
The feet can also swell due to pregnancy, especially in the eighth and ninth months.
In the week before the menstrual period, the accumulation of fluid in the body and hands is normal.

Swelling with itching and red spots
The causes of swollen, dry hands with a red blotchy rash are allergic contact dermatitis, i.e. an inflammatory reaction to an allergen.
The allergic reactions that can cause fluid buildup and reddening of the skin also include hives and angioedema.

Swelling of the hands at night
Swollen hands in bed are rare, but can arise from an unnatural sleeping posture when the arm is subjected to excessive pressure.

Swollen hands in winter
The Raynaud phenomenon is a common cause of swollen, cold, unfeeling in cold climates, white or bluish hands.
The cause is a blood vessel disorder.

Enlarged hands
Hands can get bigger without necessarily being swollen for the following reasons:
Acromegaly causes hand enlargement instead of swelling.

  • Giant growth (gigantism)
  • obesity
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Manual work: growth of muscles, bones and connective tissue of the hands

Treatment for swollen hands

One of the most important measures in changing your diet to treat swollen hands and feet is to reduce your sodium intake.
Use less table salt and check how much sodium is in packaged food (e.g. snacks).
Choose food alternatives with a little sodium.
Eating salt can be easily reduced by replacing chips and popcorn with fresh and fruit and vegetables.

Help yourself with swollen hands

drinking water
It is wrong to believe that drinking water increases the storage of fluids.
On the contrary, as much as possible should be drunk in order to promote the flushing out of the accumulated liquid.

stretching for the hands and repeated pressing of the fingers stimulates the blood flow to the affected region, which promotes swelling.
In the summer the swelling of the hands usually increases and it can be difficult to pull a ring off the finger; in this case it is advisable to stretch your hands up and close your fingers several times into a fist and open them again.

Another simple trick is to move your hands while walking.
There is no need to worry if your hands and fingers are swollen in the morning when you wake up; an unusual sleeping position can be to blame.
The patient should keep calm and hold their hands up for a while to relieve the swelling.

It is known that excessive salt intake in a healthy adult can lead to swelling of the hands and fingers. Therefore, the sodium intake should be reduced in the daily diet; compliance with the recommended minimum amount will help reduce edema.

If alcohol consumption is the main cause of swollen hands and fingers, refraining from alcoholic beverages is the only way to reduce water retention. Replacing alcohol with water – this is the right way to treat swollen hands from alcoholics.
After the self-help measures, water retention in the hands has probably already decreased considerably.

However, if the swelling of the hand occurs for no apparent reason and persists for more than two days, a doctor should be consulted.

Useful tips

physical therapy

Physiotherapy can help relieve inflammation and swelling; Generally, laser treatment and water ultrasound are particularly suitable for this; on the other hand, if there is a bruise, the Tecar therapy shows that best results.

1- Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. In this way, the toxins are flushed out of the blood, which reduces hand swelling.

2- Put your feet and hands up. Place your feet on a footstool while sitting; they should be positioned above the heart. Place your hands on a pillow so that they lie above your arms.

3- Wear elastic stockings and gloves. These therapeutic agents are also referred to as compression stockings or gloves; they stimulate blood circulation in the hands and feet, which supports the swelling.
If the wrist and hand are pressed together by an elastic glove, the fluid accumulation in the region in question can be prevented.
The gloves must fit snugly, allowed to but not so tight that the blood supply to the fingers is cut off.

4- hand massage. The massage stimulates blood circulation in the hands and feet and can be carried out by a friend.
The circulation of the excess liquid is also favored.
The hand massage can reduce the fluid in the hand. If sports activities and massage are painful, the patient may find it easier to endure treatment after a hot bath.

5- Ice cooling hands and feet. Ice promotes swelling. Cool the swollen area with an ice pack for 10 minutes, then wait 10 minutes. Carry out this change three times.
Warning: ice must not be applied directly to the skin because it causes cold burns; always put a cloth in between.

6- Balanced diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Healthy people have a properly functioning blood circulation, so their hands are less swollen.

7- Reduce salt, alcohol and caffeine, because they increase swelling.

8th- Integrate sporting activities into everyday life. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce swelling in the hands and feet.
Stretching and endurance exercises for the muscles of the hand and wrist can help to pump the excess fluid to the heart.

9- Hand dip in salt water, in this way the fluid can escape from the skin pores.
The lukewarm water must contain a certain amount of salt so that the principle of osmosis can be used.
The hand bath should last at least 20 minutes.

Anti-inflammatory, non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can be used effectively to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Cold or warmth for swelling of the hands?

In the first 48 hours after an injury, everything that could increase swelling should be avoided, including hot showers, whirlpools, warm envelopes, or alcoholic beverages.

After 48-72 hours, when the swelling has subsided, warmth and gentle exercise, supported by a moist heat source, help regain mobility. Some experts recommend alternating baths, whereby the hand is alternately immersed in warm and then cold water for 30 seconds.

Self-treatment in the event of a slight hand or wrist injury
Self-treatment can help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Hand and finger jewelry, such as rings and bracelets, should be removed immediately after the injury; as the swelling progresses, stripping jewelry becomes more problematic.

Follow the PECH rule to relieve pain and swelling: break, ice, compression and high altitude.
The injured hand should not be used in the first 24 hours after the accident.
An elastic bandage can prevent excessive swelling; moreover, the hand is spared in this way.
A wrist bandage supports an injured wrist.
You should ask a doctor whether it makes sense to wear a bandage or bandage for longer than 48-72 hours.

Massage the injured region gently to relieve the pain and promote blood circulation; do not massage if pain occurs.


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Christina Cherry
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