What are the Most Common Causes of Swelling Fingers?

Madeleine A.

Some of the most common causes of swelling fingers include arthritis, fluid retention, and pregnancy. In addition, finger edema can be caused by cardiac problems, abnormal kidney function, and allergies. Before treatment can be implemented to reduce swelling, a thorough medical examination must take place. Swollen fingers that are related to fluid retention can sometimes be relieved by taking diuretics, or water pills, which increase urinary output and flush fluids out of the system.

Pregnant women often experience swollen fingers and feet.
Pregnant women often experience swollen fingers and feet.

Typically, arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, which takes on the appearance of swollen fingers. Anti-inflammatory medications are frequently prescribed in the treatment of arthritis to reduce pain, improve mobility, and decrease swelling in fingers. Kidney problems can also cause bloated, swollen hands and feet, as well as a puffy face. Treatment for kidney problems might include medication to bring down blood pressure, administration of potassium, and in severe cases, kidney dialysis treatments.

Swelling fingers may be indicative of a cardiac problem.
Swelling fingers may be indicative of a cardiac problem.

Sometimes, when people come in contact with an allergen, it can cause swelling in the fingers and they then itch and turn red. In cases like this, antihistamine medications can help decrease itching, redness, and subsequent swelling. Other symptoms of swollen fingers include shiny skin on the fingers, pain when bending the fingers, and pitting edema. This condition occurs when an area of the tissue that is pressed down upon forms an indentation, or takes on a pitting appearance.

Swelling fingers may be a sign of an allergic reaction.
Swelling fingers may be a sign of an allergic reaction.

Women who are pregnant frequently experience swelling fingers and feet. Treatment for swollen fingers and feet during pregnancy includes limiting salt in the diet and increasing fluid take. When people do not take in adequate amounts of fluid, the human body sees it as a potential threat. Subsequently, the body begins to hold on to every drop of fluid, which eventually can lead to swelling. Once the body realizes that adequate amounts of fluid are coming in, it will release some of the fluid that it was retaining, thus decreasing swelling.

Arthritis is a common cause of swelling fingers.
Arthritis is a common cause of swelling fingers.

Sometimes swelling fingers can become so large that rings no longer fit. In severe cases, rings can become so tight that they have to be cut off. To prevent this from occurring, rings should be removed at the first sign of swollen fingers. Not only can the fingers swell and cause rings to become tight, swollen knuckles can occur, making it even more difficult to remove a ring. At the first sign of edema, people need to call their physicians so treatment can begin.

A problem with the kidneys can cause bloated or swollen hands.
A problem with the kidneys can cause bloated or swollen hands.
Swelling fingers can be a sign of kidney problems that require dialysis to treat.
Swelling fingers can be a sign of kidney problems that require dialysis to treat.

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Discussion Comments


Go to a doctor. If you self-diagnose and get it wrong, things could be a lot worse.


I found this article because I have shiny swelling fingers. Does that mean I'm having an allergic reaction to something? The information is in the paragraph about allergic reactions but it also mentions edema, which is not always associated with allergies. What is it referring to?


I am a male 34 years old. For the past month, I have my right hand fingers excluding my thumb all the four finger have inching, swelling and stiffness.

It was not often, but for the past three days, it's stayed for the whole day. What is it? Please suggest something I can. I have consulted my physician too. He was saying it might be an allergy after taking those medications. As I said, it's continued the whole day.


My fingers are swollen on both hands and my feet are also swollen. I am 24 years old, male, and I am really worried about this when someone tells me my fingers are different. Is this because I masturbate regularly? If yes, how should I stop it? I have pain in my fingers regularly. I also have improper nails including my legs. Please help. I am very worried about it.


@anamur-- I have arthritis also but I have not experienced much swelling. At most, there might be some swelling around my knuckles and joints but nothing like you mentioned. So, it might not necessarily be due to arthritis.

I don't know much about how blood pressure would affect water retention in the body, but since you see differences from when you do and don't take any medication, that might be a better route to inquire.

Not to alarm you or anything but I know there are some other illnesses like fibromyalgia that cause swollen fingers. My cousin has this, it makes her really tired and she has widespread pain. I know she has swelling in her fingers also.

I don't think that fibro is that widespread and its symptoms would surely give it away. But I think that it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor in case there is something else going on. And follow what the article has recommended like cutting down on salt and drinking more water.


I have high blood pressure and some arthritis in my hands. If I forget to take my blood pressure pill at night, I wake up with swelling in my hands and fingers in the mornings. I can barely get my ring off but thankfully the swelling goes down in a couple of hours after I'm up and about and have taken my medicines.

So I am not sure if my fingers swell because of my blood pressure or arthritis. I think my blood pressure pills are diuretic, could that be preventing the swelling when I take them?

And I am wondering if all arthritis patients will have swollen fingers?


I've been hiking for more than five years. When I first started, after each hike, my fingers became incredibly swollen and looked more like sausages than fingers. I went and got checked out by a doctor and it turns out that this pretty common with people who walk a lot. Doctors suspect that it happens when we don't move our arms a lot while walking, which is true for me because I am also carrying a heavy backpack.

Thankfully, when you start using your hands the swelling slowly goes down. But I didn't want to go through this so I got a new backpack which came with a hip belt. This belt helps take the pressure off the shoulders and prevents fingers and hands from swelling.

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