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What is Causing My Fingers to Swell?

man in striped shirt with arms crossed wearing enso ring

It happens to the best of us, the ever dreaded summertime swollen fingers. There are several causes of finger swelling, most of which are fairly benign. In many cases, swelling is caused by water retention, itself often the result of eating too much sodium. Hot weather can also trigger swelling as your blood vessels expand.

Other possible causes include osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, Raynaud’s Disease, lymphedema, and osteoarthritis, all of which should be diagnosed by a medical professional. Pregnant women should pay particular attention to finger swelling: While some bloat is normal during pregnancy, excessive or sudden swelling could indicate preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition.

How to Treat Finger Swelling

If your doctor has ruled out one of the more serious medical problems, there are a few things you can do to reduce finger swelling:

  1. Remove your rings and bracelets, if you haven’t done so already.
    Rings on swollen fingers can get stuck and, in some cases, result in serious injury.

  2. Soak your hands in cool water.
    Pour out a basin of cool water and soak your hands for a bit. Do not use ice water, however, as very low water temperatures can damage the skin.

  3. Avoid foods that cause water retention.
    High-sodium foods can cause bloating, leading to swollen fingers. Soy sauce (and dishes containing it) is a frequent culprit, as are many processed foods. Fennel, dandelion greens, and celery, on the other hand, can help address swelling. Drinking fluids, including tea, can also help.

Risks of Finger Swelling and Tips for Ring Removal

Swollen fingers can be a serious annoyance, but isn’t typically dangerous on its own. Where it can get more complicated is if you are wearing a ring that you are unable to remove. The ring can pinch your finger and possibly make you more vulnerable to ring avulsion, a traumatic injury that can result in permanent damage to, and even amputation of, your finger.

Removing a stuck ring can be difficult, which is why there are so many DIY options for doing so. As noted above, cold water soaks can help, as can holding your hands up in the air, fingers straight, so as to allow fluid to flow downward. Many people also coat the finger with hand lotion or soap, making it easier to ease the ring off. (Always clean the ring thoroughly after exposure to these substances to prevent damage.)

Once you’ve removed the ring, check your finger and hand for any scrapes, scratches or injuries. When in doubt, see a doctor for an examination and treatment. Don’t put a ring back on until the finger has healed and the swelling is gone.

Ring Options

If you are someone who frequently suffers from swelling, wearing a ring can be challenging. One alternative to rings made from hard materials is the Enso Ring, which is affordable (so you can purchase a few in different sizes), lightweight, and is less likely to injure your finger in case of swelling. If you haven’t already, check out our best selling Elements Collection!