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Numerous conditions can cause swelling in the hands, including injury, arthritis or carpal tunnel. Hand swelling is also common during exercise, resulting from the way the body and blood vessels respond to the demands for more energy from the muscles. People who experience chronic hand swelling should consult a doctor for advice. In some cases, a severe underlying medical condition may be the cause of hands swelling.


Edema, the medical term for swelling, occurs when excess fluids becomes trapped in the tissues. Common places for edema include the hands as well as the feet and ankles. Heart or kidney diseases are some of the possible causes of edema, though poor dietary choices such as eating too much salt, pregnancy and certain medications may also cause this type of swelling.


An injury, such as a sprain, can cause swelling of the hand. Typically, pain and loss of movement also occur. Applying an ice pack to the affected area may help; however, if the pain worsens, FamilyDoctor.org recommends consulting a doctor for an examination.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 46 million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling and pain in the hands and other joints. To determine whether hand swelling is caused by arthritis, and which type of arthritis may be involved, a doctor can perform laboratory tests and X-rays.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve in the wrist and hand. The resulting pain, numbness and swelling may arise after performing certain hand movements, such as using power tools. While surgery is an option, most people are able to relieve their symptoms and regain normal use of their hands with proper treatment, according to MayoClinic.com.