Edema is a medical term used for swelling. When your small blood vessels leak fluid into the surrounding tissues as a result of injury or inflammation, the fluid buildup can make the tissue swell. While edema usually occurs in legs, ankles, and feet, you may also experience swelling in other parts of your body, including neck, face, and hands.

Most times, hand edema isn’t anything to worry about, but sometimes it can signify underlying issues that need immediate attention.


Some common causes of hand edema include:


Physical activity increases the blood supply to your body organs, including your heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. However, it can also reduce the blood supply to your hands, making the blood vessels open up and swell.

When should you worry: While swollen hands during exercise is a common occurrence, sometimes, it could be a sign of hyponatremia. This condition is caused by low levels of sodium in the blood. Endurance athletes are at a high risk of getting hand edema due to hyponatremia while exercising.


If you’ve had your lymph nodes removed during cancer treatment, the lymph fluid can accumulate in different body parts leading to lymphedema. Other symptoms of lymphedema include numbness and a heavy feeling in the arm and decreased ability to move your arms and hands.

Woman and man holding hands


When a sudden increase in blood pressure harms other organs, the condition is known as preeclampsia. Perhaps the most alarming fact about preeclampsia is that it can occur during early pregnancy and postpartum, posing life-threatening problems. A certain level of swelling is expected during pregnancy. However, if you feel abdominal pain, severe headaches, bloody urine, and excessive vomiting, you should quickly see medical attention.


Swelling in hand can be quite uncomfortable. It can also lead to pain and inflammation, reducing your mobility. While resting your hands and applying ice can bring temporary relief, hand therapists can eliminate the problem from the root by providing tailored solutions. The treatment from chronic edema is different from the usual procedure and focuses on building hand strength and flexibility.

Hand pain therapists also use assistive devices such as compression garments to improve blood circulation and reduce chronic inflammation.

Finding certified hand therapists has become easier than ever. Able Hands Rehabilitation is a hand rehabilitation center serving in Freehold, Old Bridge, and Edison, NJ. If you’re looking for a trusted occupational therapist or a trigger finger treatment specialist, reach out to us today!