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Hand swelling during exercise: A concern?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-swelling/AN01403
- With Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Dr. Edward Laskowski is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, including subspecialty certification in sports medicine, and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
He has been on the staff of Mayo Clinic since 1990 and specializes in sports medicine, fitness, strength training and stability training. He works with a multidisciplinary team of physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and sports psychologists.
Dr. Laskowski is an elite-level skier and an avid hiker, cyclist and climber. He approaches sports medicine from the perspective of a physician and an athlete.
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Laskowski to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and he has received a Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for his contribution to the Council.
Dr. Laskowski was a member of the medical staff of the Olympic Polyclinic at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and has provided medical coverage for the Chicago Marathon. He serves as a consulting physician to the National Hockey League Players' Association and is a featured lecturer at the American College of Sports Medicine's Team Physician Course.
Dr. Laskowski, a Cary, Ill., native, has contributed to Mayo Clinic's CD-ROM on sports, health and fitness, a website guide to self-care, and hundreds of Mayo Clinic articles and booklets in print and online. He is a contributing editor to the "Mayo Clinic Fitness for EveryBody" book, and he has presented lectures throughout the world on health, fitness and sports medicine topics. His teaching expertise has been recognized by his election to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame at Mayo Clinic.
"There are many myths and misconceptions about exercise and fitness in general, and also many traditions that don't stand up to scientific scrutiny," he says. "My goal is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on sports medicine and fitness topics in a way that you can practically incorporate into your life."
- Foot swelling during air travel: A concern?
- Hand swelling during exercise: A concern?
Hand swelling during exercise: A concern?
What causes hand swelling during exercise? I walk several times a week, and my fingers get puffy to the point that I can't get my rings off.
from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Hand swelling during exercise is a fairly common problem. The cause isn't completely clear, but hand swelling appears to be a result of the way your body and blood vessels respond to the increased energy demands of your muscles during exercise.
Exercise increases blood flow to your heart and lungs, as well as to the muscles you're working. This reduces blood flow to your hands, making them cooler. In turn, the blood vessels in your hands may overreact by opening wider — which could lead to hand swelling.
As you continue to exercise, your muscles generate heat that makes your system push blood to the vessels closest to the surface of your body, to dissipate heat. This response triggers perspiration and may also contribute to hand swelling.
In rare instances, endurance athletes develop hyponatremia (hi-poe-nuh-TREE-me-uh) — an abnormally low level of sodium concentration. Swollen fingers and hands may be a sign of hyponatremia, but other signs, such as confusion and vomiting, are more prominent than is swelling. Drinking too much water, particularly during a marathon or similar long, strenuous event, may cause your body's sodium to become so diluted that you become hyponatremic. Hyponatremia requires immediate medical attention.
There's no proven way to prevent or reduce most exercise-related hand swelling. Before you exercise, you may want to remove your rings and loosen your watchband. During exercise, it may help to do occasional forward and backward arm circles. You might also stretch your fingers and then make fists several times during exercise.Next question
Foot swelling during air travel: A concern?
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- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 12, 2012.
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