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Swelling in the hands can have many different causes. If only one hand is swollen and you recently injured it, there's a possibility that one or more of the 27 hand muscles is broken. See a doctor if you think this is the case. Swelling indicates increased fluid retention between the cells of the hand. Sometimes this may be a temporary condition caused by PMS or too much salt in the diet. Other reasons hands may swell include pregnancy, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, hyperthyroidism and lymphedema, according to

Consult your doctor and describe your symptoms in case the swollen hands are a sign that you have a disease. You may need a cortisone injection, surgery, prescription medication, or a cast or splint.

Take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to take away swelling, as recommended by

Put an ice pack on hands to reduce swelling for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, two to three times a day, as recommended by and the Elderly Health Service of the Hong Kong Department of Health.

Massage your hands. Raise your left hand in the air to elevate it. Use your right hand to gently massage the left hand to increase blood flow. Work the entire hand and down the forearm for 15 to 20 minutes, then switch hands. Do this a few times a day, as recommended by Elderly Health Service.

Mix 1 tsp. salt and 1 tbsp. sugar or honey with a quart of water and drink it before exercise to reduce hand swelling during workouts, as advised by the BellaOnline article "Swelling Hands When Walking." Drink plenty of water throughout the day as well.

Do hand exercises two times a day to increase circulation to stop swelling, as recommended by Elderly Health Service and BellaOnline. Squeeze your hand to make a fist and open it slowly. You can also use a stress ball or water bottle to have something to squeeze.

Reduce the amount of salt in your diet. A high amount of sodium may cause swelling, according to BellaOnline.


Rest your hands throughout the day if swelling is accompanied by pain. Overworking your joints can cause damage, according to Elderly Health Services. However, leaving your hand in the same position for an extended period can make your hand stiff, so be sure to stretch or move your hands around occasionally.

The following medications may cause your hands to swell, according to Hytrin, Terazosin hydrochloride, pentosan polysulfate, Elmiron, Letrozole and Femara.

About the Author

Sarka-Jonae Miller

Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.