What It Means When Your Hands Swell Up After A Jog

The after-effects of a run, walk, or jog can range from the physical to the emotional. Maybe you feel your blood pumping, your heart racing, or a feeling of pride swelling in your chest from completing your goal. Other times, the after-effects of a jog may seem a little more strange or unexpected. One of these common effects is the swelling of the fingers or hands. So, why does our body respond in this way and what's the cause of it?

Hand swelling, as it relates to exercise, is not generally a cause for concern. In fact, swelling in our extremities is often a side effect of our body's efforts to keep us cool during exercise (via Mayo Clinic). When jogging, our body redirects blood flow to the areas that are most engaged during the activity such as the heart or certain muscles like the hamstrings (via Verywell Fit). As a result, blood flow is reduced in our extremities which can cause the blood vessels in our hands or fingers to expand, which can give rise to swelling.

Our bodies work to keep us cool but drinking too much water can lead to hand swelling

Alternatively, while drinking water is important when exercising, consuming too much water can also result in hand swelling. When we drink too much water, we dilute the levels of sodium in our bodies which can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia (via LiveStrong). This occurs when the cells in our body become overwhelmed with water and begin to expand which can lead to the experience of hand swelling. Because we also lose sodium through perspiration, experts stress the importance of replenishing our sodium levels when exercising — one way being through sports drinks which will restore low levels of electrolytes. In more severe cases, hyponatremia can be accompanied by disorientation or vomiting (via Mayo Clinic). In these instances, seeking immediate medical attention is advised.

To help alleviate any aches or pains from hand swelling, medical experts suggest removing any items that could further constrict blood flow in your fingers, such as rings or other accessories. Additionally, because our arms remain fairly still while walking or running, giving them the occasional stretch is a helpful way to keep blood circulating. Health professionals encourage flexing the fingers through repeated opening and closing movements, as well as making occasional large arm circles while exercising. Should you have further concerns related to hand or finger swelling, please consult a medical physician for further assessment and treatment instructions.