What Causes Swollen Hands?

· June 28, 2015

Have you ever looked down at your hands only to find that your rings are pressing into your skin, that your fingers look swollen and that they’ve taken on a new color? Why does this happen? There are a number of reasons that you may get swollen hands, and while most of them are not at all serious, others could signal that you suffer from some kind of illness. We’ll explain it all in more detail below.

Why are my fingers swollen?

Crack knuckles

This phenomenon is actually more common than you might think. Sometimes, after you’ve been walking for a while, you feel a bit of tingling and look down at your hands to find that they are swollen. Essentially, this has to do with your circulation; when you are doing exercise, more blood is pumped to your hands, causing them to swell.

On the other hand, if just one finger is swollen, this could be due to some kind of injury or infection. However, you should always make sure that this swelling is not the result of a problem in your joints. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Laceration or blunt trauma: did you bang your hand into something? Did it get pinched? Were you bitten by a dog? These events are usually quite obvious, but, sometimes, you may hit your hand on something and not pay it any attention. Then, hours later, the resulting swelling starts to appear.
  • Injured ligament or cartilage: if your work involves performing repetitive tasks and doing the same movements with your hands and fingers over and over again, your fingers may seem swollen at the end of the day. This could be the result of injured cartilage.
  • Bursitis (swelling of a bursa that protects and absorbs shock to your joints). This is a very painful condition because the patient’s fingers swell, especially in the joint area. Sometimes, a small, painful bump will appear.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: you are probably already familiar with this painful condition, which is very common in women. It involves pressure on a nerve that runs through the wrist, often causing the fingers to swell, lose feeling, and even feel stiff. It is very painful.
  • Ganglio: this condition occurs when the upper part of the joint or tendon grows or becomes swollen. This can travel up to your fingers, causing them to swell.
  • Infection: you should never forget about this possibility. There is a bacterial infection called Streptococcus aureus which can cause very drastic swelling in the fingers. It is painful and can even cause you to have a fever.
  • Paronychia: this condition will definitely get your attention, as it tends to only affect one finger. It’s a painful infection near the fingernail that makes your finger swell, especially around the nail. It may even produce pus.
  • Rheumatoid arthritisunfortunately, this condition is very common, so you should keep it in mind when looking for the cause of your swollen hands. It is a chronic auto-immune disease that affects your joints. It is very common in the fingers, causing them to swell and producing pain.
  • Septic arthritis: this type of arthritis is infectious, and difficult to differentiate from rheumatoid arthritis because the symptoms are usually the same. So you should see a doctor for help with the diagnosis.

When one or more of your fingers is swollen, you should make sure to pay attention to the symptoms. Check to see whether it is just one finger or your entire hand. If your whole hand is swollen, it’s usually a circulatory problem or metacarpal syndrome. If it’s just one finger, check your fingernails first, and then consider whether you bumped that finger somewhere or suffered some kind of injury. It might even be the result of an insect bite. But if the swelling lasts for more than five days, make an appointment to see your doctor.

How can I reduce swelling in my fingers?Ginger

Obviously, like we said above, if you find that the swelling in your hands lasts for several days, you should see a doctor. However, at home, you can follow these tips:

1. Cold and hot baths with rosemary water: rosemary is great for reducing joint and cartilage swelling. You can mix two stems of this medicinal plant with hot water and then submerge your swollen fingers for three minutes. Then, do the same with a bowl of cold water. By switching between these two temperatures, your blood flow will improve, thus reducing the swelling. To finish this treatment, you can massage your swollen hands with a few drops of rosemary oil.

2. If you suspect that the swelling in your fingers is the result of a bacterial infection, rub a garlic clove on the affected area. This plant is a great anti-bacterial agent that will help to reduce your swelling.

3. Ginger root bandage: this medicinal root can help to reduce swelling. First, grate a few slices of ginger root and mix with hot water. Submerge your swollen fingers in this mixture for a few minutes. Then, remove the grated ginger from the water and apply it to the affected area, without pressing too hard. This will surely help with the swelling.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the main causes and treatment of swollen hands!