Read below about swollen hands, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen hands 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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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Hands

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swollen hands. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Psoriatic Arthritis

    Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. Some people who have psoriasis also get a form of arthritis (inflammation and swelling of joints) called psoriatic arthritis.

    This type of arthritis can be managed with treatment, and permanent damage can be prevented. However, the underlying cause (psoriasis) is currently incurable.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shoulder pain, lower back pain, joint pain, upper back pain, hip pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Angioedema

    Angioedema is a condition which can cause swelling and puffiness of the face, mouth, tongue, hand or genitals. It is often related to an allergic reaction to food, medicines or insect bites.

    With treatment, this usually resolves in a few days.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), diarrhea, swollen face, hand swelling
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  3. 3.Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.

    RA is a chronic disease which requires lifelong control.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, joint pain, muscle aches, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.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

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  5. 5.Hand Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

    Osteomyelitis of the hand is a bacterial or fungal infection of the hand bones, typically caused by Staph Aureus (40-50% of the time). It is difficult to diagnose as the infection can come from a break in the skin at the area or anywhere else in the body that spreads by blood.

    Improvement during a 6-week treatment with antibiotics

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    moderate fever, spontaneous hand pain, constant hand pain, warm and red hand swelling, painful surgical site
    Symptoms that always occur with hand bone infection (osteomyelitis):
    spontaneous hand pain, constant hand pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

    De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. If you have de Quervain's tenosynovitis, you will feel pain upon turning your wrist, grasping anything, or making a fist.

    4-6 weeks with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    hand numbness, thumb pain, hand weakness, weakness in one hand, numbness in one hand
    Symptoms that always occur with de quervain's tenosynovitis:
    thumb pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Nephrotic Syndrome

    Nephrotic syndrome is caused by different disorders that damage the kidneys. This damage leads to the release of too much protein in the urine, causing the body to swell.

    Varies by cause of Nephrotic Syndrome

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, weight gain, bilateral leg swelling
    Symptoms that never occur with nephrotic syndrome:
    cut on the foot, recent cut or wound, swollen ankle, swelling of one leg
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Bruised Hand

    A bruise occurs when small blood vessels break and leak their contents into the soft tissue beneath the skin, which causes the purple color of the bruise.

    1-2 weeks

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    hand injury, hand pain from an injury, pain in one hand, swelling of one hand, palm bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with bruised hand:
    hand injury, hand pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.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

FAQs About Swollen Hands

Here are some frequently asked questions about swollen hands.

Why does my hand keep swelling up?

Continued hand swelling can be caused by repeated injuries including sprains, small fractures, as well as eating too much salt and thus retaining fluid. Additionally, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can cause hand swelling. Arthritis can cause swelling, particularly of the joints. Osteoarthritis can cause swelling routinely during the day in the hands and the wrists.

Why do my hands go numb and swell?

Hand numbness and swelling can be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when swelling compresses the median nerve and impacts the first three fingers on each affected hand. Swelling can further compress the nerve and cause not only a lack of sensation but also pins and needles. Additionally, in severe cases, hand motion can be affected.

Why is my finger swelling for no reason?

Finger swelling doesn't often occur with no underlying cause. Swelling of the finger can be caused by spondyloarthritis, an inflammatory disease that more commonly affects the spine. It can also be caused by sickle cell disease in which blood cells clump, making them unable to flow out — causing swollen fingers. Fingers may also swell as part of generalized body swelling or edema.

Can arthritis cause swollen hands?

Yes, arthritis can cause hand swelling in the fingers and the wrists. Arthritis often first causes swelling of the joints of the fingers. Which joint swells depends on the type of arthritis and the cause of the type of arthritis. Generally, hand swelling fluctuates during the day. While swelling may be present to some degree all day, swelling often changes throughout the day.

Why are my hands suddenly swollen?

Hands swell suddenly for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for hand swelling is trauma to the hand. It can cause both local and general hand swelling, depending on the location and force of the trauma. Other causes include infections of the hands, as well as flares of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or gout. Hands may also swell as part of generalized body swelling or edema. Sudden hand swelling should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Hands

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

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen hands symptom checker to find out more.

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Swollen Hands Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen hands have also experienced:

    • 5% Thumb Pain
    • 5% Hand Pain
    • 4% Hand Tingling
  • People who have experienced swollen hands had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Less Than a Day
    • 35% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen hands were most often matched with:

    • 50% Angioedema
    • 25% Psoriatic Arthritis
    • 25% Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • 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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