Read below about back of the hand swelling, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your back of the hand swelling from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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9 Potential Back of the Hand Swelling Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Dupuytren Disease

    Dupuytren Disease, also known as Dupuytren's contracture, is a condition that gradually causes connective tissue (fascia) under the skin of the palm to thicken and become scar-like. Although Dupuytren's isn't painful, it does restrict movement. The thickened tissue forces several fingers - usually the ring and pinky fingers - to curl in toward the palm.

    This condition is chronic, and may get worse over time, eventually requiring treatment.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    finger joint stiffness, hand bump, thickened skin on the finger, swollen hands, hand injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Cellulitis

    Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissues underneath it. It is most commonly caused by Group A strep and typically enters the body through a break in the skin.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, hand redness, hand pain, painful hand swelling, hand injury
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    hand redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Nail Infection (Paronychia)

    Paronychia is an infection of the nail folds, typically caused by Staph. Aureus. Or a fungus.

    Great prognosis. Recovery in the next two weeks

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous finger pain, fingernail pain, fingernail swelling
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  4. 4.Benign Skin Growth

    Seborrheic keratosis is a condition that causes wart-like growths on the skin. The growths are benign (not-cancerous) and look like stuck-on plaques.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    constant skin changes, itchy rash, rash with well-defined border, abdominal skin changes, neck skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with benign skin growth:
    constant skin changes
    Symptoms that never occur with benign skin growth:
    cherry red lower leg bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch

    Back of the Hand Swelling Checker

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  5. 5.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Recovery time varies depending on treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, weakness in one hand, pain in both hands
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance. This condition most often affects skin of the hands, and may occur after repeated and prolonged exposure to substances such as water, detergents (soaps, bleach), solvents (gasoline), acids, powders, dust, and soil. The onset of the skin reaction is usually within 48 hours of contact with the substance.

    1-2 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    hand pain, hand skin changes, facial skin changes, hand redness, rash on the outer part of the finger
    Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    hand redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Acute Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis

    The kidneys are a pair of important organs that lie near the spine whose function is to filter blood. There are about 1 million glomeruli in each kidney, which are tiny balls of thin blood vessels where there filtration takes place. After an infection anywhere in the body, especially a streptococcal infection (strep throat), these glomeruli may become inflamed.

    Symptoms last 2 weeks or less.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Frostnip of the Upper Limbs

    Frostnip is damage of the outermost layers of the skin caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports.

    As long as you are able to get to a place to re-warm, the damage should be reversible.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hand numbness, hand pain, hand redness, cold hands, cold fingers
    Symptoms that always occur with frostnip of the upper limbs:
    cold fingers
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck, no longer produces adequate levels of hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential for many bodily functions including breathing, heart rate, and metabolism.

    Most cases of hypothyroidism require lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Back of the Hand Swelling

  • Q.Did you recently injure your hand or fingers?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Do you have these contractures that limit the movement of your fingers? (See picture)
  • Q.Do you drink alcohol?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our back of the hand swelling symptom checker to find out more.

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Back of the Hand Swelling Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced back of the hand swelling have also experienced:

    • 14% Hand Pain
    • 3% Finger Joint Stiffness
    • 3% Wrist Pain
  • People who have experienced back of the hand swelling had symptoms persist for:

    • 36% Less Than a Day
    • 35% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced back of the hand swelling were most often matched with:

    • 30% Dupuytren Disease
    • 12% Cellulitis
    • 1% Nail Infection (Paronychia)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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