7 Surprising Causes of Your Swollen Hands & Feet


Swelling is likely one of the extra widespread human experiences, however it may be uncomfortable, and it might probably imply our favourite sneakers or rings not match. But why do our limbs and appendages balloon up like that? SheKnows talked with Dr. Robert Danoff, a household medication doctor at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, to get somewhat bit of information on why swelling occurs, what we will do about it and when to hunt assist from a physician. 

Sitting or standing

Yes, most of us spend a whole lot of our days both sitting or standing up. It may be a part of our jobs or life at residence, however an excessive amount of can contribute to puffy ft or swollen ankles. According to Danoff, sitting or standing for hours on finish can contribute to a brief lower in your physique’s potential to have high quality circulation. 

“What happens is that the muscles in your feet, ankles and legs relax and don’t contract as much as when you are active,” he explains. “This in turn causes the blood flow to and from your feet, ankles and legs to slow down. As a result, a temporary pooling of blood and fluid happens in those areas, leading to some swelling.”

To fight this, change positions regularly. Put your ft up or rise up and stroll round. He says this may assist your muscular tissues contract and increase and get your circulation again on monitor. 

Exercise or warmth

Exercise or just being out within the warmth may also result in some puffiness. Danoff says that the warmth triggers a cooling response in our our bodies, which causes us to sweat, and the blood vessels towards the floor of our pores and skin increase. This leads to swelling, so be sure you pop your rings off earlier than you train or exit into the warmth. Otherwise, you may in all probability have to attend till your physique cools down to note a discount in your swelling and get them off.

More: The Reason Your Hands & Feet Are Cold All the Time

Too a lot salt

Salty meals are yummy, however overindulging could also be contributing to your swelling issues, says Danoff. “Most of it comes from bread, fast foods, deli meats, canned food and processed snacks,” he explains. “Whether the name is sodium, baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate or other names, the result is often the same — too much salt can lead to fluid retention.”

To fight this, purchase gadgets that do not have a ton of sodium on board (this often means skipping fast-food dinners and processed meals) and watch that saltshaker. Concentrate on different flavors as a substitute of including extra salt, and also you won’t miss it in any respect. 


PMS… ah, that never-forgotten good friend that visits us every week or so earlier than our durations return every cycle. It’s chock-full of all types of “fun” symptoms, together with irritability, anxiousness, insomnia, fatigue, sore breasts — and swelling, particularly within the arms, ft or legs, attributable to water retention according to Mayo Clinic. To forestall PMS-induced swelling, it is particularly very important to keep away from extra sodium throughout this time, though there aren’t any ensures you may be swell-free.


Another reason for swelling is being pregnant, notably in the course of the 2d and 3rd trimesters. Hormones abound throughout being pregnant, which may trigger some ligaments and joints to quickly increase, says Danoff. He additionally notes that the scale and place of the newborn can lower circulation, which can lead to swollen arms and ft. Prolonged standing and sitting can exacerbate this downside, and it might probably grow to be extra of a problem towards the tip of the day.

Putting your ft up when it turns into noticeable (or beforehand if potential) can reduce down on being pregnant swelling, however Danoff says that if swelling within the arms, ft and face comes on abruptly, contact your physician as quickly as potential, as this could point out an issue. 

Certain drugs

Medications will help deal with circumstances or illnesses, however some can have uncomfortable side effects — together with swelling, says Danoff. “Certain blood pressure medications as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers have the potential to contribute to the side effect of hand and ankle/feet swelling,” he explains. 

Your physician or pharmacist will help decide in case your drugs might be contributing to your swelling, however do not cease taking your remedy simply since you suppose it is making you puffy — at all times converse to your physician first. 

Certain well being circumstances

While most swelling is momentary and resolves rapidly, there are particular well being circumstances wherein swelling is a symptom and must be explored by a doctor, Danoff explains. 

“There are medical conditions such as lymphedema — the lymphatic system is not working properly — liver, heart and kidney disease as well as diabetes, thyroid disease, arthritis and allergic reactions that can also contribute to swelling of your hands, legs and feet,” he says. 

More: 7 Important Things Your Feet Could Be Telling You About Your Health

Swelling is a standard physiological response to sure circumstances, drugs, our diets and our hormones, however some circumstances can require a physician’s data. If you do not have an simply attributable trigger (comparable to warmth or PMS), it is necessary to be evaluated by a physician. If you will have different signs, comparable to ache, fever, shortness of breath, chest ache or fast improvement of swelling, he says it is best to see a physician as quickly as potential. 

Otherwise, examine your salt consumption, put your ft up or arise and stroll round at work — it might be simply what your swollen arms and ft want. 

(Editor references)

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