My Hands Always Swell During a Workout, So I Asked a Doctor How to Get Relief

Emily Weaver
·1-min read
Mid section of tired woman holding water bottle. Female in sports wear sitting on wall after workout session in city.
Mid section of tired woman holding water bottle. Female in sports wear sitting on wall after workout session in city.

Have you ever had to stop mid-workout because your hands felt swollen or puffy? If so, then you know how uncomfortable that restricted feeling can be. I've tried everything to prevent this from happening - I drink plenty of water, avoid salty foods before a workout, and always remove any rings I'm wearing before I begin. So, when my fingers continued to feel tight and inflamed while working out, I reached out to an expert for help.

Flora Sinha, MD, a board-certified internist in California, explained that swelling in the hands is relatively common during a workout. "During exercise, the blood flow to the heart and lungs increases, therefore decreasing the flow to the extremities," Dr. Sinha told POPSUGAR. In response, the blood vessels to the hands and fingers dilate, causing inflammation.

Dr. Sinha added that the opposite can also happen. When you start to feel hot and sweaty during a workout, your body may try to expel that heat by "pushing blood to the vessels closest to your body's surface" like your fingertips, which can trigger swelling. Warm weather can stimulate inflammation, too.

So, the next time you exercise, make sure you remove your rings and loosen your watch to help ease the discomfort. If your fingers do begin to tighten, Dr. Sinha recommends elevating your hands and alternately making a fist and extending your fingers to help improve blood flow. If you experience persistent pain, or your puffy skin appears tight and shiny, it's best to reach out to your doctor.