Health Conditions That Can Cause Swollen Fingers And Hands

Nobody likes "sausage fingers” or sausage hands (if that's a thing). Also known as swollen fingers and hands, it can be extremely uncomfortable — and at times, painful — depending on the cause. While a number of health conditions can lead to enlarged extremities, being aware of these causes is the best way to treat and determine why your finger or hand began to swell in the first place.

A common explanation of finger and hand swelling is infection. When an infection occurs the white blood cell floods the injured area to remove harmful invaders and bacteria, shares Osmosis. As a result, the infected finger may begin to swell and other symptoms may occur such as pain, redness, chills, and fever (per Osmosis). WebMD explains the most common finger infections include felon (a pus infection), herpetic whitlow (a herpes infection), and paronychia (a fungal or bacterial infection).

Injury is another major reason you may experience swelling. If you've ever fallen prey to getting your thumb jammed in the door, you know what we're talking about. This abrupt impact then triggers inflammation (and swelling) to help the body heal and restore the damaged tissue, points out Osmosis. While ice and rest may help, if you suspect a torn ligament or broken bone, contact your doctor.

According to Medical News Today, different diseases also lead to swelling of the joints. This includes arthritic diseases such as gout, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis, or autoimmune diseases like scleroderma and sickle cell anemia.

Lifestyle conditions that cause swollen fingers and hands

Believe it or not, lifestyle factors may cause swollen fingers and hands. Some of these factors may even be considered healthy. Take exercise for example. Exercise is crucial to overall health, but it's also demanding on the body and may lead to swelling. Why? Because exercise requires ample amounts of energy. For your body to reach the demands, it must redirect blood flow from the fingers, hands, and feet to the vital organs (i.e. muscles, etc.), points out Osmosis.

According to Medical News Today, hot environments cause the blood vessels in your hands to dilate to help boost blood flow and cool the body. The result? Fluid buildup in the hands and swollen fingers.

For those who suspect fluid retention might be the culprit, it could very well be. WebMD explains fluid retention happens when bodily fluids accumulate in the joints of your hands. Diets high in salt may be more susceptible, since salt increases the body's ability to retain water to help offset the high salt intake (via Osmosis). While a salty meal could be an explanation for swelling, it's generally nothing to worry about.

Pregnancy may also be to thank (or blame) for the swelling (via Medical News Today). During pregnancy, it's completely normal to swell because the body creates around 50% more bodily fluid and blood (per American Pregnancy Association). This can show up in the hands, feet, and more. Still when in doubt, it's best to consult your doctor about your puffy fingers.