Swollen and puffy hands may result from eating a salty meal to having a serious medical condition. When swelling occurs, the fingers and hands may appear plump and feel achy. The puffiness may occur first thing when getting out of bed or after a long day of being on your feet. Normally the swelling will ease as the day progresses or after resting from a day of work. If the swelling and puffiness do not subside and continue for several days, consult your doctor to see if there is an underlying medical condition.
When swelling occurs in the hands, it is normally from excess water trapped within the body. Massage loosens the fluid so it may travel and be expelled from the body. Gentle and slow massage of the hands and fingers will also aid in the aching caused by the swelling. Hand cream will help with the massage.
Lower Sodium in the Diet
Many of us are not aware of how much salt is in the foods we eat. Processed foods have high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid to build up in the body. After a salty meal, you may feel the puffiness developing in your hands. Sodium in your meals is reduced by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and purchasing canned goods offering lower sodium levels.
Elevate Arms and Hands
Elevating the arms and hands above the heart allows for better circulation, which helps move the fluid away from the extremities. When the hands are above the heart it allows the fluid to drain away. Normally a person with swollen ankles and feet will elevate their legs for relief. Elevating the hands above the heart will give the same relief.
Similar to compression hose for the legs, compression gloves reduce puffiness by keeping a constant pressure on your hands. Wearing the gloves at night may prevent waking up with puffy hands; wearing them during the day helps, if the type of job you have causes your hands to swell.
Exercises using equipment that allow the hands to work their muscles may also reduce puffiness. Squeezing devices provide the type of motion needed to work both the hands and the fingers, releasing built up fluid so it can be transported out of the body. These devices may help if used in the morning and the evening for a few minutes on each hand.
See Your Doctor
Swollen hands may also be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as heart disease. If arteries to the heart become clogged, it can decrease normal blood flow which in turn leads to excess fluid buildup in the body. If you cannot find relief for your swollen hands and other parts of the body are also holding fluid, see your physician to determine the cause.