Got a case of swollen fingers? It can be painful and annoying! And if your fingers swell up, it may be difficult to do daily tasks. Even scrolling through the latest CureJoy article will be tricky.
Having swollen fingers can really hurt. Other times, they may just simply feel uncomfortable. You also might strain to do normal activities like typing and picking things up. But this can just make it worse, so it’s important to get treated. Here are seven possible reasons why your fingers are swelling up.
7 Reasons For Swollen Fingers
Swollen fingers can be caused by different kinds of arthritis. Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are marked by an overreacting immune system, leading to lots of inflammatory joint pain!1 Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, happens when the cartilage breaks down.2 All of these can happen on any joint, but the fingers have a high risk because of natural wear and tear.
If the swelling is localized around your knuckles and joints, it’s likely to be arthritis. They might look red and feel tender to touch. Normal everyday activities might also be harder than usual.
About 53 million in the United States suffer from arthritis, so it’s not a rare condition.3 Luckily, you can soothe inflammation with finger exercises and stretches. Taking turmeric, stinging nettle, and gingko may also help.
2. Summer Heat
Those hot summer days might be the culprit behind your swollen fingers. Extreme heat can dilate the blood vessels, causing tissue and skin to puff up. This condition is called heat edema and usually happens in the legs. But your fingers can take a hit, too.
You have a higher chance for heat edema if you’re not used to hot weather. Walking, standing, and exercising in the heat can also pose a risk. To prevent it, take frequent breaks to stretch it out.4
3. Excess Salt Intake
When you eat a lot of sodium, it builds up in the blood. Your body tries to dilute it by holding on to fluid.5 And then that fluid accumulates and causes swelling that can happen anywhere in the body – including the fingers.
The best way to treat it is to cut back on salt. However, Americans eat a whopping 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day.6 You can limit your own intake by avoiding processed/convenience and fast foods.
4. Repetitive Movements
Do you work on the computer all day? Repeatedly using your fingers can lead to tendon inflammation called tenosynovitis. It brings about joint swelling, pain, redness, and tenderness. Repetitive activities, like typing and playing instruments, can make you prone to tenosynovitis.7
When you exercise, blood flow targets the muscles being worked. This limits blood flow to the hands, causing the vessels to compensate by widening.8 The result is swollen, puffy fingers. If you eat a lot of salt or work out in hot weather, this is even more likely to happen.
If your finger swells up after an accident, you might have a fracture. It’ll probably be tender and bruised, too. Even a small fracture can cause your entire hand to shift out of alignment, so visiting a doctor is crucial. You’ll likely have to wear a splint for about three weeks. You can also do finger exercises to reduce the swelling and stiffness, making it easier to regain mobility.9
Taking care of finger cuts and sores is crucial. Otherwise, bacteria might make its way into your skin! This can turn into a bacterial infection underneath the skin called cellulitis. Common symptoms include swelling, tenderness, warmness, and redness in the finger.
Cellulitis, which is usually caused by Staphylococcus, affects the deepest layer of skin. Early treatment is key to preventing complications. Antibiotics are the best treatment, but natural remedies like tea tree oil, garlic, and lavender oil may also help.10
If your fingers puff up and you’re wearing a ring, the swelling can worsen. Try raising your hand high to drain the blood. Apply an ice pack and lather up the finger with your favorite natural oil. This will act as a lubricant to finally remove the ring.
|↑1||Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑3||Improving the Quality of Life for People With Arthritis At A Glance 2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑4||Barrow, Michael W. and Katherine A. Clark. Heat-Related Illness. American Family Physician 1.58(1998):749-756.|
|↑5, ↑6||Health Risks and Disease Related to Salt and Sodium. Harvard T.H. Chan.|
|↑8||Physical Exercise – Regional Blood Flow. The University of Mississippi Medical Center.|
|↑9||Finger Fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.|
|↑10||Erysipelas and cellulitis: Overview. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|