Swollen Hands in the Morning

Swelling, medically known as edema, can affect any part of your body. This happens in response to inflammation. When you bang your leg on a hard surface, you develop a bum. Many people find them in trouble because they have swollen hands waking up in the morning. With swollen fingers, it becomes extremely difficult to do usual morning rituals such as cooking, bathing, brushing, or eating breakfast.

What Causes Swollen Hands in the Morning?

Depending on the underlying cause, the severity of this condition may vary from person to person. It is, therefore, important to work with your doctor to pinpoint the underlying cause of the trouble to find the most appropriate treatment option.

1.  Pregnancy

You may experience swelling during pregnancy because your body produces 50% more blood and other fluids during this time. You usually gain 25% of your body weight due to fluid retention. It means it is common for some extra fluid to fill up your tissues in feet, hands, ankles, or legs during pregnancy. The fluid softens up your body and allows your joints to open up for delivery. Swollen hands and legs are usually more prominent in your fifth month of pregnancy.

Should you worry about it? You do not need to worry for your body retaining the fluids during pregnancy, but you may want to see your doctor if swelling appears suddenly. This may indicate preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition characterized by high levels of protein in the urine and high blood pressure.

What can you do about it? Limit your sodium intake to prevent fluid retention and include food high in potassium in your diet. Drinking plenty of water and using cold compress will also help.

2.  Arthritis

You may have swollen hands in the morning due to arthritis. There are actually different forms of arthritis, including the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This autoimmune disease causes your fingers joints to swell.
  • Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that develops when the cartilage between joints degenerates. It usually affects elderly people.
  • Psoriatic arthritis may also cause swelling due to psoriasis, which is a chronic skin disease.
  • Pseudo-gout is a condition that develops when urea crystals accumulate in your joints. This causes pain and swelling.
  • Neck or cervical spondylosis is another form of arthritis that usually affects the neck but can also affect your fingers and cause swelling.

Treatment: Applying hot or cold compresses may help loosen up your joints. Heat helps relax your muscles and cold reduces swelling and pain. You may also try some OTC pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen.

3.  Scleroderma

This immune disorder makes collage to accumulate in the tissue and thus it becomes hard and stiff. Swelling in the morning is the most common symptom of scleroderma. You may notice the skin of your finger look full or sausage-like, and having difficulty to move or make a fist. Muscle weakness and pain are also common in scleroderma.

Treatment: You may see some improvement through exercise, or you may have to work with an occupational therapist to exercise your fingers and toes to improve range of motion. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescription drugs may also help reduce pain and swelling.

4.  Other Causes

In addition to certain underlying conditions, there may be some other causes of why you have swollen hands in the morning. For instance:

  • Overuse of the fingers: That is more common for people who have to type for extended hours. You may have to use a brace or a splint to immobilize the area for some time for relief.
  • Poor sleep posture may sometimes cause swollen hands. This happens when you sleep on your hands frequently. You may want to wear a wrist brace at night to avoid swelling.
  • Being on a high-sodium diet will cause fluid retention that may result in swollen hands. You need to eat a balanced diet and consult a nutritionist to learn how to keep away from sodium-rich food.
  • Side effects of medication may also lead to swelling in the hands or other parts of your body. It is more commonly seen in patients who take calcium channel blockers to treat migraines or high blood pressure. Other medications that may cause swelling include medications used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also cause swollen hands.

How Remedies Swollen Fingers in the Morning

Once you know the underlying cause of having swollen hands in the morning, it becomes easier to find a treatment. However, you can always improve your condition through simple home remedies. Here is what to do:

  • Take plenty of rest from the activity that may be causing swelling and fluid retention. In other words, you should take a break if overuse of your fingers is causing problems. Using a different keyboard, wearing a splint, and changing the angle of the wrist and hand may also help relieve pain.
  • Apply ice packs on your affected hand to reduce swelling. Ice will reduce pain by creating numbing effect. Be sure to wrap the ice in a towel before applying it to the affected area. Do not leave it on your skin for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compressing your hand and wrist with a glove or ace wrap may also help prevent fluid retention. Typists, knitters, and people who use their fingers for extended time can find special fingerless compression gloves for support.
  • Keep your hands elevated above heart level for at least half an hour several times a day to improve blood flow to the heart. You may also try sleeping with forearm elevated to reduce swelling.
  • Both strengthening and stretching exercises will help improve range of motion. Massaging your hand may also reduce swelling. Be sure to work with a specialist, especially when massage and exercise cause pain.

How to Prevent Swollen Hands in the Morning

You can take some simple tips to avoid having swollen hands, such as

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Avoid alcohol and eat a balanced diet
  • Be sure to maintain a good sleeping posture
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
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