Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Swelling is called edema by medical professionals and it means an increase in the volume of fluids in between cells. Swelling hands or puffy fingers when walking is a frequent complaint among walkers, particularly for beginners, pregnant women, people who are overweight or people who have health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Do ask your doctor about any swelling you experience, particularly if it does not dissipate quickly.
The increase in fluids in your hands you may experience when walking is a common problem among walkers and can occur for a variety of reasons. If it is particularly hot and/or humid outside, fluid tends to accumulate. Sometimes it is worse when you are premenstrual. Or, if you have had a higher than ordinary intake of sodium or salt, you can notice increased hand swelling.
Provided that you have the okay from your doctor, try these tips to lessen or minimize hand swelling:
1—Make sure to stay hydrated. Often your body holds on to water when it perceives that it doesn’t have enough. So, drink lots of water to flush those fluids away. Sports drinks (try them diluted with water) may help if you suspect your electrolytes may be out of balance, perhaps from sweating too much. You can make your own electrolyte solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey and 1 teaspoon salt with one quart of water.
2—Remove rings that can cut off circulation in your fingers before you go walking. Having a ring stuck due to swelling is uncomfortable at best and can even be dangerous as the ring can trap the fluid in your finger. If that happens, soak your hand in cold water to reduce the swelling so you can remove the ring. Oil or lotion can help, too. If your finger turns blue, seek medical attention.
3— Clench and unclench your fists. Opening and closing your hands will help fluid circulate. Some people find carrying a small stress ball, a walking stick or other object to squeeze is helpful, too. A cold water bottle can also help.
4—Pump your arms when you walk. Bend your arms at the elbow at about 90 degrees and swing them from your shoulder as you walk. This helps you walk faster and it also lessens the fluid pooling in your hands. If you walk with your hands hanging down by your hips and swinging, the chance of swelling is increased.
You can also do other things to get your arms moving—raise them over your head, do arm circles, and so on—the idea is to keep your arms and hands moving so fluid won’t build up.
Usually, the swelling in your hands will go away quickly after you stop walking. If it does persist, try cold water and opening/closing your fists for a little while. If it still doesn’t go away, call your doctor as long-term swelling could be a sign of something more serious.
Products mentioned in this article: