What causes finger swelling? Is it a serious situation? When should you see a doctor? What should we do to pass? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is finger swelling?
Finger swelling is a sign of fluid buildup or inflammation in finger tissues or joints. Finger swelling can be caused by serious infections, inflammation, trauma, and other abnormal processes.
Finger swelling in general can be caused by general fluid retention (oedema) , such as during premenstrual syndrome or pregnancy . If only one finger is swollen, possible causes include trauma, infection, or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Although rare, finger swelling can be a sign of a serious infection or inflammation , so it’s a good idea to see a doctor about your symptoms. If there is a feeling of pain, redness or warmth along with the swelling in your finger, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
What are the possible symptoms of finger swelling?
If your finger is swollen, you may have other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition. For example, swelling due to an infection may be accompanied by chills and a feeling of warmth around the affected area, as well as other symptoms such as redness.
Symptoms that may occur with finger swelling
Finger swelling can occur with other symptoms, including:
- Color changes such as bruising on the skin
- High fever
- Lumps along the finger
- Numbness or tingling from nerve compression
- Painful or tender finger areas
- pus-filled cracks or tears on the finger
- Difficulty moving the joint
- stiffness in the joint
- joint swelling
Symptoms that may indicate a serious condition
In some cases, finger swelling may occur with other symptoms that may indicate a serious condition that should be evaluated immediately in a medical setting. If you or a loved one has swelling of the fingers with other serious symptoms, including:
- High fever
- inability to move finger
- severe pain sensation
- Visual deformity of the finger
What causes finger swelling?
1- Water collection (edema)
Finger swelling can occur when bodily fluids collect in tissues or joints. When any or more of your fingers collect blisters, you may notice swelling or have trouble removing your ring. Salty eating habits may be responsible for blisters. However, blistering of the fingers is not a cause for concern and will go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away, you should see a doctor.
Your heart, lungs and muscles need supplemental oxygen while training. While more blood goes to these organs during exercise, less blood can go to the fingers and your fingers may swell. In fact, a similar thing happens when your body heats up and sweats in hot weather. To cool off, the blood vessels in your skin swell, allowing heat to dissipate from the surface. This is a completely normal process.
Your finger may also swell from a ligament tear, toe sprain, tendon injury, bone spur, or fracture. If an injury like this isn’t too bad, ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medication may be sufficient. However, if the swelling in your finger does not go away, if you have a fever or if you feel excruciating pain, you should see a doctor.
The three main infections that can cause swelling of the fingers include the following:
- Herpetic whitlow: An infection that causes small, swollen, bloody blisters on the fingers.
- Paronychia: An infection at the base of the nail caused by bacteria or fungus.
- Felon: A painful, pus-filled infection of the fingertip.
Finger infections can also spread to other parts of the body if not treated early.
4- Types of arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints and causes swelling, pain, and stiffness. Symptoms usually first appear in the hand joints. Psoriatic arthritis can affect people with a skin condition called psoriasis. It usually causes sausage-like bumps on the fingers and toes. Both types of arthritis are serious and must be treated.
Gout is a type of inflammatory (inflammation) that causes tenderness, pain, swelling and warmth in the joints. Gout occurs when too much uric acid in your blood forms crystals in the joint. It often causes big toe pain and swelling. However, it can affect any joint, including your fingers. Medications help relieve pain and reduce attacks.
Some common medications that cause finger swelling include the following:
- Over -the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin , ibuprofen , and naproxen
- Certain medications for diabetes or high blood pressure
- Nerve pain medications such as gabapentin and pregabalin
- Hormone medications such as estrogen or testosterone
Finger swelling from medications is usually not a serious condition. However, if you are worried, it will be comforting to consult your doctor.
8- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve in a place called the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Repetitive hand movements can cause this syndrome. Some people affected by carpal tunnel syndrome report that their fingers feel swollen even if they don’t look swollen. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may experience pain, tingling, or numbness. Carpal tunnel syndrome is treatable and usually does not cause permanent damage.
9- Trigger finger
Trigger finger is a snapping sound like a trigger when you bend your finger and is also a possible cause of finger swelling. Trigger finger occurs when there is swelling around a tendon, sometimes after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. It is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. Trigger finger can heal on its own. However, it’s still a good idea to be cautious and get a doctor’s check-up.
10- Kidney disease
Our kidneys rid us of waste and extra fluids in our body. One of the first signs that something is wrong with your kidneys is swelling in your fingers, feet, and around your eyes. You are more likely to develop kidney disease if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. To protect your kidneys or prevent the disease from worsening, it is helpful to be tested for these problems regularly.
Pregnancy is another possible cause of finger swelling. However, swelling, especially of the hands, can be a sign of preeclampsia . This is dangerously high blood pressure that can occur in the second half of pregnancy. Rarely, preeclampsia can occur after delivery, and this is called postpartum preeclampsia . Preeclampsia affects the kidneys and triggers swelling. Also, if you are affected by this condition, you may experience a severe headache , stomachache , and vision difficulties.
12- Sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease is the disruption of the structure of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. In those with sickle cell disease, red blood cells take the shape of a sickle or crescent, and blood flow may be blocked. When the blood flow is blocked, there may be swelling in the hands and feet with pain. Other problems associated with sickle cell disease include infections, anemia, stroke, and blindness.
Lymphedema, a type of edema, occurs when the fluid in the lymph system cannot drain well. Lymphedema can also occur as a side effect of cancer treatment . Women with breast cancer often have lymph nodes removed to check for cancer in their armpits. This impairs lymph flow and can cause swelling in the arms and hands. Radiation therapy for cancer can damage the lymph nodes and make the problem worse.
14- Raynaud’s disease
Raynaud’s disease is a rare problem that affects the blood vessels in your fingers and toes. Raynaud’s disease causes blood vessels to constrict when you are cold or stressed. The lack of blood flow makes your fingers cold, sore, and they may turn white or blue. Your fingers may throb and swell as the veins open and blood returns. In severe cases, the lack of blood flow can cause sores and even kill the tissue it affects.
Scleroderma is an immune system disease that tricks your body into producing too much of a protein called collagen. This thickens and hardens the skin and can affect other body parts besides the hand. If you have scleroderma, your hands may become stiff and your fingers may swell like sausages. Some people have mild symptoms, while others have severe symptoms. Scleroderma does not go away on its own, but it can be treated.
What are the possible complications of a swollen finger?
Complications associated with finger swelling can be progressive, and complications may vary depending on the underlying cause. Because swelling can be caused by a serious infection or other illness, leaving it untreated can lead to complications and permanent damage.
It is important to visit your doctor whenever you experience any persistent swelling, pain, or other unusual symptoms related to your fingers or hands. Once the underlying cause has been diagnosed, you should follow your doctor’s specially designed treatment plan to reduce your risk of potential complications.
Potential complications associated with finger swelling include:
- Chronic finger or hand injury
- finger amputation
- finger deformity
- Inability to perform daily tasks
- Spread of infection to other tissues
- Surgery to repair the progressive damage
As a result
As you can see above, there are many health conditions that can cause finger swelling. Many of these causes, such as heat, exercise, and even hormones, are rarely dangerous. Simple interventions for these types of conditions can help with any swelling or discomfort you may feel in your fingers.
However, if there is chronic finger swelling accompanied by other symptoms, it is best to see a doctor. They can help determine if there is an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.