Swollen Arm – Causes of Swelling of Hand, Forearm, Fingers

Swelling of the arm is an indication of inflammation or disturbances of blood or lymph flow causing a swollen appearance of the upper arm, forearm, hand or fingers. It rarely occurs on both sides at the same time. A sweollen arm is not always a cause for concern. Most cases are acute and quickly resolve on its own with no further problems. However, at other times the arm swelling can be a sign of serious conditions which needs prompt medical attention.

Why does the arm swell?

Swelling anywhere in the body is due to fluid accumulation. This fluid may be tissue fluid or blood. Normally there is a constant inflow and outflow of these fluids. However, when there is inflammation then more fluid flows in to the arm and this fluid accumulates in the tissue spaces. This causes swelling of the arm. Inflammation is the mechanism by which the body protects against tissue damage. It does not only occur in the arm.

Another reason for swelling is where blood accumulates in the tissue spaces. This may be seen as a red to purple bruising if it occurs under the skin. It signals a break in a blood vessel that allows the blood to flow out of the artery or vein. Similarly blood is constantly drained out of the arm through the veins. However, if the vein is blocked then the blood can accumulate in the arm and cause it to become swollen.

Lastly is the lymphathic fluid that can also accumulate and cause arm swelling. Lymphatic fluid is the excess tissue fluid that does not drain away into the veins. It is then drawn out of the tissue spaces and into the lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes along the course of these lymphatic fluids then helps to filter the fluid. Finally the lymphatic fluid from the arm is emptied into a vein. However, if the lymphatic vessel or lymph node is blocked then swelling can occur.

swollen arm

Causes of a Swollen Arm

A swollen arm may be caused by a number of factors or predisposing conditions.

  • Inflammation due to trauma (blunt force), injury (broken bones), overuse and exertion, toxins (poisonous substances, insect or snake bites), burns, allergies or chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and gout .
  • Lymphedema which is accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the arm. This is often associated with a swollen lymph node (lymphadenopathy).
  • Infection – virus, bacteria, protozoa or fungi. Localized infection of the fingers, hand or forearm or a widespread infection of the arm as in cellulitis.
  • Venous insufficiency are circulatory disorders due to chronic conditions (cardiac, peripheral vascular disease), injury to the vein or obstructed blood flow through the arm veins.
  • Blood clots can occur inside arteries or veins anywhere in the body, including the arm. A clot can occur after blood samples are taken from the arm or an intravenous (IV) drip was in place.
  • Fat accumulation due to hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome or just general weight gain may cause swollen arms although this fat deposition is gradual and evident throughout the body.

itching wrist and hand

Symptoms with Swollen Arm

The swelling of the arm may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms which may assist with diagnosing the cause of the swollen arm. It is difficult to identify a causative factor for a swollen arm solely on the swelling itself. The swollen arm should be assessed in conjunction with swelling throughout  the body (generalized) or in specific areas (localized).

Swelling of the arm due to edema (in most cases) may be pitting (finger pressure leaves an impression on the swelling for a few seconds to minutes) or non-pitting edema. Pitting edema is usually indicative of a circulatory disorder while non-pitting edema may be an indication of a more localized cause like an injury, insect bite or an infection of the arm. It may only involve one arm (nilateral swelling) or both arms (bilateral swelling).

  • Arm pain.
  • Numbness or tingling of the arm.
  • Itchy arm may also be experienced with or without an evident rash.
  • Redness or paleness of the arm.
  • Excessive warmth (heat) or cold and clammy skin.
  • Muscle weakness which is reduced muscle strength or difficulty in moving the arm or complete loss of movement of the hand, forearm or fingers.

Treatment of Arm Swelling

It is important to take note of causative or aggravating factors in repeated episodes of arm swelling. A swollen arm may or may not be accompanied by other signs and symptoms and these concomitant symptoms should be reported to the attending practitioner when seeking medical attention.

Most importantly, it is advisable to take note if your swelling is one sided (unilateral) or of both arms (bilateral) as this may indicate a localized or generalized nature of the condition. If you are unsure of the cause of acute swelling, always immobilize your arm and seek medical attention immediately.

  • Treatment depends on the cause of the inflammation, lymphedema, infection or venous insufficiency that is causing the swelling of the arm. Fat accumulation is usually gradual and gives the appearance of a swollen arm but is not a true swelling of the limb.
  • Swelling of the fingers may likely be due to conditions like arthritis (more commonly rheumatoid arthritis) or gout (less common) and treatment should be directed at the cause of the joint swelling.
  • It is not advisable to use a cold application such as an ice pack or immersing the hand in ice water if a swelling is noticed without identifying the cause. Cold therapy may only be useful in cases of blunt trauma immediately after the injury.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be useful in reducing swelling due to inflammation as well as easing any associated pain.
  • Anti-histamines and corticosteroids may assist with swelling due to allergies or insect bites. In the event of a snake bite, seek immediate medical attention as the arm swelling may be accompanied by necrosis (tissue death). More importantly, snake venom will eventually enter the systemic circulation and can cause death.
  • Certain circulatory disorders may have serious underlying pathologies including cardiovascular disease like congestive cardiac failure, kidney failure, liver failure, aneurysms and thrombosis. These conditions need to be identified and treated accordingly.
  • Fractures (broken bones) within the arm, hand or fingers will cause swelling and severe pain upon movement. Immediate medical attention is required to prevent long term complications.
  • Inform your supervising practitioner of any medication that you may be using. Anabolic steroids (used by athletes and body builders) and certain anti-hypertensive drugs may cause arm swelling.

When is arm swelling not serious?

While a swollen arm is a non-specific symptom, it should not be ignored especially in repeat cases. If the arm is turning blue or if there is a complete loss of sensation or movement, medical attention is required immediately even if this is episodic.

  • Swelling of the arm after weight training or other weight bearing exercise targeting the area is common. This is not a cause for concern unless the swelling persists or is accompanied by other signs and symptoms.
  • If you are experiencing repeat  episodes of swelling and your medical practitioner has not identified any serious pathology, it is not advisable to wear tight bands, wrist watches or finger rings as this will further slow down the flow of blood or lymph.
  • Nail biters do occasionally suffer with swelling of the fingers if infection sets in (paronychia) as the mouth is laden with bacteria that will quickly infect the affected area.
  • Swelling of the arms may be common in pregnant women and are not a cause for concern.
  • Slight swelling may also occur in heat and summer months which is not serious.
  • Deep massage or manual lymph drainage as practiced in some therapeutic massage practices is not advisable for a swollen arm. The causative factor of the swelling should always be identified first and a massage can aggravate the condition.


  1. Why are my hands swollen? HealthLine.com
  2. Hand swelling during exercise. Mayo Clinic

Reviewed and updated on 12 August 2018.

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

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  • carole pitre

    my brother’s arm from the elbo down to his fingers for the second time is verry swollen. he is 76years old and refuses to go to hospital. what can i do . worried

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Carole

      There is not much you can do without identifying the actual cause of the swelling. Given his age, it can be caused by a number of conditions with possible age related causes. Your brother requires medical attention and if it is not a serious condition, the doctor may not consider any treatment given his age. But first he has to have it checked up by a doctor.

  • Kristina

    I’m 30 yrs pld my from my forearm to my fingers get swollen for no reason at all that I know or a doctor so far, I mean if I go near rubber my forearm and hands swell and its a little painful, I can’t wear rubber gloves or latex or even non latex things because the samething happens.

    Even just walking my hands swell up I did get blood work done to see if I might have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis but they didn’t call so I’m guessing it was fine. What other test can they do?? This has been going on for years.

    I’m cleaning right now and using windex and furniture polish is making my hand swell.

    What can I use to help me get them back to normal and to remove the pain???

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Kristina

      Do you get an itchy rash before or during the swelling?

  • AJ

    Good afternoon. I’m 22 yrs old and I broke my right arm on Sunday (my shaft humorous I believe) and I went to the ER. The doctors there put a sling cast on it. I was released that night and went home. The next day around 3 o’clock I noticed that my right hand is swollen. I take the medications the doctors prescribed, which were motrin and percacet, to see if the swelling would go down but it’s been two days now and the swelling is still there. I’m getting worried. Should I go back to the ER?

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi AJ

      If you are concerned, then most definitely return to consult with the attending physician. Swelling of the limb is common given that you broke the arm. Even a simple dislocation can cause a swelling. Swelling may at times be accompanied by itching and this should be quite short term. However, if you notice that the swelling is persisting or getting worse and if you notice any loss of sensation or reduced mobility of your fingers, then immediately consult with your doctor. The sling is essential to reduce mobility of the limb and therefore ease the symptoms, like swelling, associated with a break. If you have attempted to remove your arm from the sling due to discomfort, return it to the sling. Once again, if you are concerned, then consult with your doctor. Other than that, it would be difficult to assess just how serious your condition is through this forum.

  • AJ

    Thank you very much. I did in fact go to the doctor. He said it was common for swelling to happen and that I shouldn’t worry. I have another appointment today to talk about my options. Thanks again!

  • Ambsmama

    My daughter has swelling in her arm from her elbow (including her elbow) all the way down to her fingers. She is 3 years old, is this of any major concern?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Laurie

      In children, any prolonged swelling, especially if associated with pain should be investigated. It may be a fracture or elbow dislocation (not very common) which can result in the swelling. Even if there is no pain or discomfort, it is advisable that she sees a doctor.

  • Laurie

    My daughter has intermittent swelling of her right forearm and she suffers from headaches. Does this ring any bells for anyone? She is 18 years old. Her forearm will swell and be real tight to the touch, not hot like an infection.

  • dennyelliott

    My son Josh (20) has sever fibromyalgia. He showed me today his forearm and the chubby part of his thumb on his left had was swollen. Any ideas for the swelling?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Denny Elliot

      Any differential diagnosis on our part would be a guess and plain irresponsible. How long is the swelling persisting? Is there pain or numbness? Did it suddenly start up or did it happen over a few hours? Does he still have the full range of movement? Did he sustain a fall or sustain any injury on that area?

      Your son should see his doctor and an x-ray may be necessary. Do not ignore the swelling even if there is no pain.

  • ellen bentz

    i fell 10 weeks ago and broke my humerous
    bone in my arm after 24 hours my hand started hurting and hand swelling and has been that way since do you have any comments. i have been to dr. and am takng therphy and still swollen. thanks

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  • Ralf

    one of my friends complain of sudden swelling of her bilateral arms and legs and she cant wear the usual clothes she used to wear, the condition has developed just in an overnight, itis gradually getting worse . the swelling is not associated with itching, fever or enlargement of any lymph nodes but it is painful to touch. there is no history of trauma.now she is 33 yrs old and she had history of lupectomy about 15 yrs ago from both the breasts, the biopsy did not reveal any malignancy of the lump is there any possible relation to this surgery for her bilateral arm and leg swelling ..plz adivise . thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ralf

      It is unlikely that a lumpectomy performed 15 years ago will have any bearing on her current condition. Nevertheless, given her history, she should consult with a gynecologist for further examination and diagnostic investigation of the breast. The lack of itching, fever or swollen lymph nodes usually excludes an infection but she could still be experiencing an allergic reaction, another tumor or even cardiovascular conditions.. She needs to consult with a doctor, undergo further tests and then a diagnosis can be made. I would advise that she takes it seriously and seek immediate medical attention. Rather be cautious and consult with a doctor instead of adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach.

  • Ralf

    Hi Dr. Chris
    thank you very much for your time and kind advise, i will act as per your advise.

  • melriz2002

    I fell in my bathroom 5 days ago landing on my elbow/forearm. It hurt very badly. It swelled a bit, was red and bruised quickly. The day after it hurt but not even as bad as when it happened. 2 days after it began to get shooting pains. 3 days after my hand was swollen, the pain began radiating up and down my forearm. So bad I was nausious. Today the the 5th day the pain is still there along with it being swollen. My mother is an ex xray tech she doesn’t think it is broken but says I need ?o get it checked out. My question is: with these symptoms if it is not broken what else could it be?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Melriz

      Your mom is most probably correct, given her experience in these circumstances plus the fact that you had a pain free day after the incident without any swelling. This could probably mean that there is no fracture but an x-ray should be done nevertheless. Tendonitis, a sprain which affects the ligaments, soft tissue injury or even a minor muscle tear could account for many of your current symptoms. The important part here was to immobilize your arm after the incident as well as have started on a course of antiinflammatories. I would advise that you consult with a doctor and let him decide on an appropriate course of action at this point. Do not leave it unattended any longer.

  • melriz

    Thanks Dr. Chris.
    Unfortunately I am back with additional questions. I did go to the ER, had xrays, was told no broken bones. Was told most likely torn/damaged my tendons. Was given a brace and sling, told to use sling for 2 days and brace for about 4. Took anti-inflamatory meds and pain meds. Was off work for 4 days, went back to work took it easy or tried to arm hurt like crazy. It is sort of ok when I don’t use it but once I do the pain comes back (big time). The fall happened now 2+ weeks ago and I am having issues. The pain now is different, I am getting shooting pains from myinner forearm all the way to my finger tips. My fingers tips as of yesterday are tingling and now numb. I get randon pains all throughout my arm/hand/fingers.My hand is still swollen.There are times that there is no pain but with a slight move of m? hand it is back right quick. I have no strength in gripping anything.
    I am having much difficulty with writing, hard to hold pen and after a few strokes I HAVE to stop and drop the pen and rest my arm.
    If it was my tendons why would I get these new types of pains? I am worried as to what I might have done to my arm and that it won’t be diagnosed correctly. I am more than likely going back to the hospital soon, but don’t want to go if all thede symptoms are normal. Can you give me some insight?
    Thanks again!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Melriz

      In all likelihood, there is inflammation of the nerve(s) of the arm. There are three main nerves that could be affected – the median, radial or ulnar nerve. I would not like to make an assessment as it is difficult to do so online and you need a thorough neurological examination. The swelling due to the inflammation of the soft tissues and/or tendon may be impinging on the nerve. You need to consult with an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist and have them assess your condition and decide on the most appropriate course of treatment. I would advise that you immobilize the arm for longer than a few days and try not to use it for up to 10 days to allow the inflammation to settle. Hopefully there has been no damage to any of the nerves itself due to the fall although this is unlikely. But you most definitely need to go back to your doctor or consult with a specialist.

  • ila

    Hi my mother she is 45 years and she is having pain from shoulder(left) to elbow
    she doesnt have any fracture or sprain she is a dieabetic she is not able to raise her hand but able to work she is having swelling along with pain ,the doctor has suggested her to have pain killer but no improvement pls suggest

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ila

      It is difficult to say what may be causing this. It can be an issue with the rotator cuff, maybe even a frozen shoulder. These conditions cause pain like you describe although the swelling is uncharacteristic. She needs an x-ray and maybe even a CT scan. Her doctor should consider doing an HBA1C to monitor her glucose levels over a 3 month period. Her diabetes could be contributing to the condition especially if she is not being managed properly. It is also advisable that she gets a blood glucose home monitoring device and record her blood sugar levels within 90 minutes after every meal and write down the readings. Her glucose levels may not be stable and this could be contributing to the condition, along with any injury she may have sustained. If your doctor is not considering other investigations although the condition is progressing, then its time to see a specialist.

  • Manuel

    Hello Dr. Chris Two weeks ago I broke my fall with my right hand. Immediately after, I felt pain and within a hour my hand started to swell. The pain was unbearable, but I stuck with the stay home method of RICE. I also used A wrist splint as well to keep it stable. And after the first three days, I began using the heating method. Two weeks has passed, and my hand is still swollen (not as much as when it first occurred). But, there is still pain where my middle and ring finger knuckles are, and when I press into the palm of my hand towards the location of my ring and middle fingers, there is pain there as well. I took the splint off due to discomfort after the first 9 days or so. I am able to bend my wrist with no pain, but when I bend my fingers, there is a clicking in my middle finger. I am unaware if this is normal or not during the healing process.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Manuel

      Good thinking on immobilizing your arm. Heat though should not be used in cases of inflammation due to injury of this sort. Ideally you should have started a course of antiinflammatory drugs simultaneously. Clicking may be due to swelling within the joint and it should have subsided at this point. I would advise an x-ray just as a precaution and you need to see a doctor even at this stage.

  • Joseph

    Hello Dr. Chris, about a week ago i noticed that my 1 yr old daughter’s right hand was swollen when I got her out of her crib. It wasn’t swollen when we put her down for bed and she didn’t have any accidents that we are aware of. I took her to our doctor and they took x-rays and found nothing. She also has severe cold symptoms, dont know if its related. Her hand is still swollen (just the hand not the fingers) and she doesn’t use it at all. We’ve gone back for more x-rays and nothing, is there something else we can do?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Joseph

      If the x-ray does not show any abnormality then it may not be due to an injured bone. An insect bite, rough handling of the baby or even bad positioning when sleeping can cause soft tissue injury with pain or swelling which will take some time to go down. Due to pain or numbness she may not want to move her hand much. If this does not ease, further investigation will be necessary and you should consult with a pediatrician. The severe cold may not be linked unless there was some viral infection that affected the hand – soft tissue, muscles or nerves. However this should not be considered right now until other possible causes can be excluded. Get a second opinion, preferably from a pediatrician or orthopedic surgeon.

  • ilovemom

    Hi Dr.Chris,

    My mother’s left hand frequently becomes very swollen. She’s mentioned that sometimes after moving her ring finger, she feel pain, and the swelling begins soon after that. She swelling remain for at least 24 hours. Can you offer any insight? Thank you.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi ilovemom

      Since your mom experiences pain and swelling after moving a specific finger, the problem may very likely lie with a tendon – the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. If there is any fractured bones, there will also be pain on movement with swelling. There are a number of possibilities but further investigation is necessary. Your mum needs an x-ray and needs to consult with a doctor.

  • alicat92


    I have been rowing and at the regatta in the weekend, my left forearm began to ache very painfully during my races. (Just below the elbow for half the distance between elbow and wrist joint particularly left side when palm facing upwards.)
    It had increased in size (swelling) while being rather firm to the touch generally. I iced it which seemed to help and Nurofen didn’t seem to change the pain levels much.
    My hands were heavily taped whether this could have affected however this was both hands which if it was a factor should have caused pain in both arms.
    Should i seek doctor/physio advice or is this nothing to worry about? Just physical pain i have to push past? What is causing the pain?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Alicat92

      This could very likely be muscular strain from the excessive physical activity. Strain will explain the pain and muscle growth or bulking will explain why it increased in size yet its firm. The one arm may be more affected because it used less in normal activity and then is being stained when you are rowing. It could also be related to tendon or ligament strain. If it was soft tissue inflammation (leading to swelling), it would be a bit soft although it could also be firm to some extent. Rather consult with your doctor and exclude other possible causes like nerve disorders.

  • sammis65fastback

    ive been awake now for like 3 hours because i have severe pain shooting down my right arm to my fingers. i cannot get comfortable and it is painful to touch or massage. i took a bottle of water and some ibprofen and still it hurts i also have swelling in my hand. In the hand it is especially painful to the touch. Just wandering what i should do next.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sammi

      You should consult with a doctor. If there is sudden swelling which is not responding significantly to an anti-inflammatory drug, then it could be due to a severe injury, infection or insect bite. If it persists, there is a host of other causes ranging like nerve inflammation which may be causing the pain although this will not explain the swelling. Speak to your doctor immediately.

  • worried

    I woke up because myright arm was hurting, throbbing. I got up and saw that my right arm from my elbow down to fingers were very swollen. what could the cause be and should I see a dr.?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Worried

      Yes, you should see a doctor. A number of possible causes could have resulted in the swelling so it is very difficult to say with so little information and without any knowledge of your medical history. It could have been due to an insect bite or injury. It is difficult to say on an online platform. See you doctor so that he or she can do the necessary tests and make a conclusive diagnosis.

  • Gashi

    Hi dr. Chris
    My mother had a mastectomy 4 years ago, after that her arm would swallow time to time, but lately (about 2 weeks) her arm is constantly swallowed. I now that swallowing is a common problem after operation but what could she do to easy the swallowing?
    Thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Gashi

      Yes, swelling is a common problem after a mastectomy often due to lymph node removal in the area and any occlusion of the lymphatic vessel in the area. This problem will be ongoing so there is no permanent fix for it. Movement may aid with reducing swelling to some degree as well as raising it above the head. But this will only help to a certain extent and your mother should speak to her doctor about it.

  • WILady

    Hello, I am a nursing student and my mother was having some issues like this, she started having pain in her heel, then her wrist, and then her elbow almost all at the same time. She does have arthritis in her spine. She went to the doctor and they told her carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, and plantar fascitis (which I told her they would say). Now the pain in her arm has radiated completely down the forearm and involved the entire area and is swelling up. It is not red, it is not hot but she is in a lot of pain. She is taking Aleve, has been putting ice on it (Chiropractor told her that) but heat seems to work better. She tries to use Icy Hot but it does nothing for the pain. I noticed the swelling which blanches but is non-pitting and the stiffness that I felt in the tissue, which wasn’t there before. Since it was getting worse and not better I told her to call the doctor but they won’t see her until Monday. Is there anything else I can do to help her? I told her to lay down and hold her arm up over her head to see if it is lymph by allowing it to drain. She was given assistive devices for tennis elbow and carpal tunnel but they hurt to put on as they increase pressure on the arm. She did not have an injury, is going through menopause but no major medical conditions other than hypoglycemia as a child. I don’t know what to do to help her and since I am as close to a doctor as she can get right now she needs my help. Any suggestions? (She did try Tylenol and Aleve together as well as muscle relaxers but nothing is working I just don’t know what to think other than maybe a uric acid level should be checked?)

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Wilady

      The fact that so many sites have been affected simultaneously is a cause for concern. If the heel, elbow and wrist is affected on the same side then you may have to consider this :
      1. It could be a work related issue where she is straining one part of her body due to some activity.
      2. She could have had a minor stroke at some point which may not have led to complete paralysis but affected her movement to an extent where she is straining one side more. I admit that this is a long shot since other symptoms should also be evident.
      3. Gout or pseudogout is a possibility. Osteoarthritis is another consideration.
      4. Lymphedema due to blockage of a lymph node proximal to the affected site. But this would not explain both the upper and lower limb pain simultaneously.

      Apart from the swelling, you should check if there is muscle weakness or diminished range of motion. This may be more indicative of point no.2 if it is affecting both the upper and lower limb. A spinal cause for both the leg and hand pain could be attributed to scoliosis where the both hand and leg nerves are pinched but this would have been picked up by the chiropractor and is once again not a very likely occurrence for such sudden onset.

      The firmness that you are feeling could be muscle spasm or soft tissue inflammation since it is non-pitting. If there has been no trauma, it could still be a mechanical cause which is occurring over a period of time and it is being missed. I would say that you send your mum to a neurologist for a check up and maybe further testing.

  • ruthmspence

    My middle finger, forearm and hand have all swollen up – not obvious trauma to any of these areas. Fingers tingly and numb on pads of fingers. Been to ER checked for blood clot – clear, x ray clear and bloods ok yet still persists – any ideas?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ruthmspence

      Apart from trauma, it could be soft tissue inflammation due to strain. Since the xray is clear and you are not experiencing pain, a fracture is unlikely. Lymphedema may be a possibility which may be caused by an obstruction of one of the lymph nodes draining this area.

  • ruthmspence

    My middle finger, forearm and hand have all swollen up – not obvious trauma to any of these areas. Fingers tingly and numb on pads of fingers. Been to ER checked for blood clot – clear, x ray clear and bloods ok yet still persists – any ideas?

  • Mike

    I started a new workout that involves chin-ups, pull-ups and push-ups. Since my body hasn’t been subjected to these things for years, I kinda blew my triceps out to the point that i couldn’t bend my elbows for two days. The back of my arms are still swollen but full movement has been restored. Yesterday I was squeezing on my right arm a little to note the swelling. Almost a half hour afterwards I noticed that my forearm and hand to the finger line had become extremely swollen. Upon touch it feels liquidy and cushiony. My other arm is still only swollen on the upper back side, but I didn’t want to chance squeezing it to see if it becomes like my right arm. Does this sound normal from the squeezing and massaging or do you think I could have damaged something that now needs care?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mike

      Contrary to popular thinking, massaging a strained muscle is likely to aggravate pain and swelling. So yes, this massaging could have aggravated the swelling. It just depends on the duration and intensity of the massage plus the extent of the muscle strain. You may not have caused any damage from the massage or while doing this you would have experienced extreme pain. But you may have injured the muscle significantly by your strenuous workout. If it settles, learn from this and always stretch before working out. Do not do more than you should when starting up any form of training after a long period of no exercising. If the pain and swelling persists, you will need to see a doctor.

  • Mallika


    Iam 23 year old female. About an year ago i developed pain in my right arm and later realized that my arm was swollen near the elbow. I drive a car without power steering and the steering is quite stiff so i attributed it to it. I consulted a doctor, got my blood tests done and all was normal. Tried a variety of ointments, hot water bottle etc. But nothing seems to work. Doctor says, i do not need medicines because the moment i stop taking them the pain would be back. A few months ago, my mother discovered that not only the elbow area but my whole arm was swollen. To add to it a few days ago she said even my shoulder is swollen.
    Please suggest as to what i should do about this.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mallika

      Any strain to the arm muscles and tendons can cause swelling. The fact that you cannot recall any specific incident where or when you were injured does not rule out the possibility of trauma. You may have hurt your arm at some point without realizing it immediately only to see the symptoms start up later. Given you age and the lack of other symptoms, the cause is most likely not very serious that could cause major problems in the future. However your age is also a factor when considering conditions like breast related disorders which could account for swelling of the arm. But don’t get worried about that right now.

      Try to immobilize your arm for a period of 3 to 5 days and see if the swelling eases. An x-ray may be helpful and since it is persisting, it may be time to visit an orthopedist. You do not mention any numbness or other unusual sensations, so the pain can be attributed to inflammation for now. You need to see a doctor and it may be a good idea to go straight to a specialist like an orthopedist at this point.

      Remember that the if you are experiencing pain, you will unconsciously change the way you use/move that arm so other parts of it may take more strain now which could lead to swelling elsewhere, like the shoulder.

  • Derek Friend


    I’m a 29 year old man, and every morning I wake up and my hands, arms, legs, knees, feet, shoulders, and face are noticeably swollen. I can’t close my hands and it’s hard to walk as well. It is painful and causes trouble in everyday activities. The swelling lasts for about an hour to 2 hours and finally eases off. What could be causing this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Derek Friend

      It is difficult to isolate a cause because this type is not common in a person of your age. If there is no itching or skin rash, then it is unlikely due to an allergic reaction. Other possible causes may be related to ‘poor circulation’ or disorders of the blood vessel wall. Cardiac (heart) conditions are also a possibility, as well as kidney or even liver problems. You do not mention if you are overweight or obese but this could also be a factor in your condition. Bottom line – you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t take these symptoms lightly as it could be indicative of a serious medical disorder.

  • emerituspundit

    I’ve never cause any of my hands trauma but the pinky, ring, and index fingers of my left hand have started to swell. It started with the pinky, which is very swollen now and the other two are just starting to. I have no idea what could be the cause. Please help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Emerituspundit

      You do not give much information about yourself (age, gender, medical history), neither do you mention if it is the entire finger or just the tips, sides of the fingernail, etc etc so it is difficult to isolate possible causes.

      Some questions that you need to answer to the doctor who is attending to your condition – is there just swelling or also pain, numbnesss, tingling and so on? Was there any of these sensations preceding the onset of the swelling? What sort of work do you do? Do you work with a calculator all day long or a cash register? Is this occurring on your dominant hand? If you are or were experiencing any numbness or tingling, I advise that you read this article on Arm, Finger Numbness and Tingling.

      You may be straining these three fingers without realizing it or your may changed the way you move your hand in daily functions due to other predisposing conditions which you were not really taking notice of. A blockage of the lymph vessel/node in the area may be affecting lymphatic drainage so that is another possibility with various causes. Read the article on Lymphedema.

      Another possibility is an infection ranging from a fungal to bacterial infection. The latter is more likely especially if there is pain and redness and this happened over a short period. If you are a nail biter then this makes it even more likely and it could also be a case of ingrown nails. See a doctor and take note note of all your signs and symptoms currently as well as preceding the swelling. This will assist him/her with a diagnosis.

  • Angel

    Hi Dr. chris
    My name is Paulina and I had a couple questions. I have been dealing with a bad body odor for 3 years now. I have leg edema as well. When I first noticed these symptoms I went and seen 2 different doctors to get two opinions on my health and they both did blood work one checked everything and the other only checked my kidneys and liver and everything came back normal. About 2 weeks ago I noticed my left arm is a little swollen it is not very noticeable unless you compare it to the other arm then you notice it is a little swollen. I’m just confused as to what could be causing this. I’m going to be 29 yrs old on St. Patrick’s day and I am overweight I weigh about 275 and am 5″8″ in height. I just got my period today so I’m wondering could it be related to my menstrual cycle and will it go away once my period is gone or could all these werid sysmptoms be indicative of something serious and it is possible that the doctors didn’t catch it. I seen the doctors about a year and a half ago and only had leg edema and a bad body odor. The arm swelling just happened recently.When I asked about the leg edema they said it was because of my weight gain and also that some women tend to get leg edema sometimes even if they are not overweight.I do tend to sit for hours and I like to watch alot of tv. What is your opinion on all this? Thanks very much and have a great day:)

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Angel (Paulina)

      Your doctor(s) are correct. A person who is overweight tends to experience leg swelling more often than a person who is within the normal BMI. Hormonal factors related to your menstrual cycle could most definitely be a contributing factor and this can even affect women who are not overweight. You admit to being inactive – try to start some daily physical activity like walking, about 30 minutes everyday (or at least 3 to 5 times a week) and you may find that your swelling will reduce. Of course this will be helpful for your weight problem as well. Inactivity could also account for arm swelling and sluggish lymphatic drainage is likely in an immobilized limb (even a very inactive limb).

      If physical activity does not help the problem, then speak to another doctor for a second opinion, or in this case a third opinion. 🙂

  • LoriQ

    My father had a massive stroke 6 years ago that has left with complete left-side paralysis. He is able to walk using a quad-cane by balance and ‘swinging’ of his left/paralyzed leg. He has developed a sudden onset of swelling in his right hand. It is very painful and warm. My mother thinks that it is due to the overuse of pressure on his hand as he uses it to balance his weight on the cane when he walks. With his history of stroke from a completely blocked right artery in his neck and the fact that his other artery is about 85% blocked, I worry about this being a sign of some cardiovascular trouble. I am not sure if he’s having any other symptoms. But just wondered if a swollen, painful, warm hand is a sign of an injury or a cardiovascular something. Thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi LoriQ

      Yes, your mom may be correct. Overuse of one hand in a situation like this may be the reason why your dad’s right hand is so swollen. The swelling, pain and warmth may be signs of inflammation which is due to the overuse. An infection is another possibility. It could be related to some cardiovascular disorder as well but this should only be confirmed/excluded by his cardiologist.

  • Kristina

    Hi Kristina

    Do you get an itchy rash before or during the swelling?

    No I don’t get any kind of itchy rash when this happens. No one seems to know whats causing it, last year I was told I had inflammation in my body after I had a blood test done but few months ago it came normal again. Its still happening but not as much, but my thighs kept getting numb and tingling and burning as if their on fire extremely painful was told its neuopathy my doctor says its from my diabetes, but my diabetes is the begining stages its not bad everytime I get blood work done my sugar levels are good, while I’m walking its the worse also standing is worse as well, but when walking on my left side of my lower back where it kind of intents I get a painful pain which makes my thighs worse. I’m on Neurontin which isn’t working so the doctor said if need be I can take 6 of those pills a day I’m not a doctor but that sure doesn’t sound safe to me he told me this week try 4 pills a then if that doesn’t help try 5 pills the next week then if that doesn’t take 6 the pills are 300mgs each. I have been trying to walk as excerise but omg I’m in so much pain I dont know what to do anymore. Any idea what else I can do?

  • Amythy

    hello doc.. i’m 27 and a mom of two.. last week i was diagnosed with scabies and the doctor prescribed me antibiotics and cream. the cream is supposed to be applied 7 days apart.. the itching has become unbearable and painful. by this time it’s already eaten up my whole hand and on the arms,thigh and legs are also getting worse.. it also spread on my genital region..
    i didn’t use the cream he prescribed,instead i bought an insect repellant lotion with neem oil (no deet) and 2 diffrent brands on head lice killer shampoo. next day after applying it i felt a relief from the pain and itching.. i continued to use it. on the third day,the scabbies tunnels are diminishing and the pain and itching too. though i noticed that it has made my skin very dry and the “elbow pit” (anticubital fossa) has started to develop scales on on both sides (more painful whenever something touched it). i continued to apply the concoction on my arms before i went to bed,then yesterday morning i forgot to rinse it off.by noon i started to feel a sting on both arms(hands,fingers,arms,that’s when i ran to the faucet to rinse.then since it felt and looked very very dry, i applied an anti-aging lotion on it continuously for 7 hrs. i stopped when i felt a stinging sensation. after i took a bath last night i noticed that my hands and arms were a bit swollen. i applied petroleum jelly around my wrist and elbow pit and on the part that was swollen. when i woke up this morning, my whole arm is SWOLLEN! i can’t move or bend my arm (nasty elbow pit burn) and i can’t twist my wrist too. the whole arm as i said was swollen and burned. whenever i try to put my arms down,i feel very painful rush of blood going down my hands. the skin is red and scaly and there’s a ring around the elbow pit that looked liked its burned and its secreting a yellowish creamy-like liquid (i don’t know if it’s because of the pet jelly that caused my sweat to look like it).. i really need help. what can i apply to reduce the swelling and burning of my skin.. thanks! will really appreciate your help cause since this scabbies infestaion started (mar 03) i refrained from holding and being around my kids. laslty, is cefalexin safe for pregnant mothers??

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Amythy

      Firstly you need to see your doctor and not self medicate. As you can see, trying to apply your own concoctions without your doctor’s guidance can be disastrous. At this point the scabies lesions may have become infected (a secondary bacterial infection). You need to see your doctor immediately. Somebody ( you do not state whom) has prescribed cefalexin, an antibiotic, and you need to use it. This antibiotic is not usually harmful in a pregnant woman but of course, there is always some risk in pregnancy. If untreated, the bacterial infection could progress further and lead to septicemia which will threaten your life as well as that of your unborn baby. If you are not consulting with a doctor but rather mixing and matching over-the-counter medicines or those from your pharmacist then stop and speak to your doctor immediately.

  • LoriQ

    Thanks for your reply Dr. Chris. My dad was admitted to the hospital due to his swollen, painful hand. He had exploratory surgery and the doctors discovered an abcess/infection. They are waiting for the results of the culture to determine what bacteria (staph?) caused the infection. How he became infected remains a mystery. A small scrape or scratch? He is on IV antibiotics. Now hoping his hand heals quickly.

    Thanks – hope this experience helps others on this board.

  • Catherine


    I was previously fit, healthy and doing a lot of running etc. This all came to a halt at the end of 2007.
    To date, I am on a waiting list to receive an epidural steroid injection into C5 disc bulge in my neck.
    My main question is I guess, can something as simple as a disc bulge cause unilateral swelling in my left shoulder/arm/hand which includes pain and excessive heat/itching?
    I was considering trying to find out where I could get a Lymphoscintigraphy as I had a lymph massage by a trained practitioner and this made it worse. She suggested I get my arm/hand tested.

    Thanks in advance


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Catherine

      Firstly you don’t mention your location and so on so it would be difficult for me or any of the readers to help you there. Contact your general practitioner or local health facility for details that would be relevant for your location.

      A lymphoscintigraphy cannot just be requested by a patient and has to first be authorized by a doctor when he or she feels that there is good reason. Secondly if you plan to do this type of procedure privately and not through a public health or national health insurance (depending on your location), you must understand that it can be expensive. I am making this assumption about you using public health facilities because you have been on a waiting list for a steroid injection which is unfortunate and would no happen if you were using the private health system in your country.

      When you say ‘lymph massage’, I would assume that you mean manual lymph drainage. I don’t see how this ‘trained practitioner’ falls into the field of medicine with these type of techniques so I would not put much credence into what she says. If you have a problem which is not going away, see a doctor, get a proper diagnosis and take your treatment step-by-step. Your symptoms may be indicative of more serious pathology, which I will not get into here, and techniques likes a lymph massage could definitely aggravate it if not cause further damage.

  • Sharclarke

    My 21 year old son is a drummer and studying music/jazz/drumming at University. He has been playing constantly since age 12. Last week his left forearm swelled up and a golf ball size lump pushed out between the two bones in the inner forearm. His fingers swelled and has pain. We iced it and rested it and it went down a bit but every time he uses it, it swells again- now on both sides of the arm. It is in continuous pain. He was not doing anything more than normal. He saw an orthopedic DR today and the doctor told him he needs to strengthen it more. xrays came back fine. He was dismissed and sent to a therapist. We are concerned as it seems unusual and it is his career at stake. Blood clot? Torn muscle? He did have 2 broken bones at age 11 with plates and pin but had them removed 7 years ago.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sharclarke

      It seems that this could be an enlarged lymph node, which may be causing a blockage of the lymphatic vessels. This will account for the sweling of the forearm. There are a number of possibilities for this enlargement and you doctor may have to do a biopsy on the node to diagnose the cause. This is only considered if the swelling and lymph node enlargement is persistent.

      Another possibility is a ganglion cyst which is like a gelatinous ‘ball’. The exact cause of this is unknown but it is usually harmless and will resolve spontaneously. It more often occurs near the wrist but could occur elsewhere on the upper limb. If it does not go down, your doctor may have to consider needle aspiration to remove it.

      The two possibilities above need to be confirmed by a doctor and there may still be other causes. If it is any of the two above, it is usually not a problem that will affect your son’s career, unless it is due to a more serious medical disorder. Speak to your doctor and let him/her do further investigations before making a final diagnosis.

  • Catherine

    Yes, I realise it was only a general question as I am in the UK so I understand it would only be ‘general’ reply. We have an NHS system over here, and to be honest, in the past I have looked at a private payment scheme but I am most distrustful of them due to all the “exception clauses” 🙁

    I have paid to see 2 consultants and an MRI of the neck (hence the disc bulge diagnoses) but no one has been able to give me answer about the swelling, really just whether it ‘could’ be related to a disc bulge. So I just went ahead while waiting for an appt for this injection to see if it would help (MLD). We use the term ‘practitioner’ over here in a non-medical sense. And yes, she was in fact registered under complimentary therapy, but did have the required qualifications to do the massage.

    My appt came through in the post the other day for the injection (20th April), so will see how that goes, although there are no guarantees. I just hope it does help 🙂

    • Dr. Chris

      Good luck with that Catherine.

  • Boudin

    Hi, whenever I have any pressure on any part of my body (working in the garden using a hand trowel, kneeling, sitting on a hard type dining chair) i swell up, with the area becoming red and hot. This can be hands, feet or just back of legs or my back. A couple of weeks ago I carried a bag for someone and where the strap had been swelled up. Today, because I was gardening yesterday both hands are hot and swollen and I can hardly bend my fingers and my left knee is hot and swollen too. I have fairly bad psoriasis and Am 44 years old. Any ideas please?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Boudin

      A lot depends by what you mean by swelling up and the nature of the injury/application of pressure and area affected. If there is pressure on an area of your body where the psoriasis is present then it is understandable that this may happen to some extent. Also certain oral and topical applications used in the treatment of psoriasis can cause this localized inflammation triggered by even the slightest irritation.

      However I would advise that you see a doctor because these symptoms does raises some concerns for the following :
      Connective tissue diseases, autoimmune disorders (psoriasis is to some extent an autoimmune reaction) and chemical toxicity.

      Speak to your doctor about it and he will be able to elaborate further.

  • Boudin

    Sorry I should also have mentioned I am 44 yo. Have bad psoriasis and am allergic to aspirin and paracetomol which also bring me out in hives etc

  • JeffG

    I am a healthy 46 year male who injured my right tricep lifting weights at the gym a week and a half ago. I wasn’t able to move my arm far enough to even use a fork for 3 days. My arm was swollen and sore, but I used ice and then wrapped it in an Ace bandage off and on for days. It seemed to be getting better until yesterday when I noticed that my arm and my hand were both swollen.

    To read more of this question and the answer from Dr. Chris, please view the complete article on Tricep Muscle Injury, Swell of Upper Limb.

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  • shutterbug_11

    Hi. I was wondering what could cause my wrist and hand area in the right arm only to swell up, accompanied with a dull heavy feeling when the arm is moving a lot. My situation is a little more complicated because I have just gotten over DVT in the right upper arm that extended all the way over to my chest. They are not sure if it was the Yaz that caused the DVT (I am 21 healthy non-smoker)or a clotting disorder.. They said it was gone Jan 2009 and then I found out I was pregnant. So i am 18 weeks pregnant and although I heard pregnant woman can get swelling, I also have the history or clotting. They did a sonogram on my arm yesterday and said they didnt see anything “but it is possible a small clot could be forming but we cannot see it yet.” That is not reasurring! Then my doctor says it could be pregnancy arthritis. What is probability it is a clot? The symptoms felt the same last time I had DVT and it was ironically also in the right arm!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Shutterbug_11

      Yes, it could be a small clot that has not been detected as yet. There is not saying what the probability is in your case because there are many variables to take into consideration. Arthritis related to your pregnancy is a possibility but given your history of DVT, it is important to first exclude that. Make sure that you see your doctor for the follow up appointment and if you are not satisfied, you should seek a second opinion.

  • mitchelltg13

    I developed this problem when I was 15, I am now 29. It started with tingling in my ring fingers and over time developed to my hands. Next to my arms.
    From my elbows down they feel drained of blood but swollen and in intense pain at the same time. Ive woken up crying more times then id like to say and there have been times to were i couldent even brush my teeth. Sometimes its gone for 6 months and sometimes not. The swelling usually occures while im TRYING to sleep after a hard days work.
    Ive been to multiple doctors, they all say the same thing take a motrin wear an expensive brace and take it easy. Well im writing because after 15 years of seeing multiple doctors with no cures, im asking for someone to think out of the box. A doctor not someone with a text book and a medical license.
    thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mitchelltg13

      You do not provide much background information on yourself, not even your gender or if one or both arms are affected, so it would be difficult to offer you much more advice than what your doctors have provided thus far. The fact that this is persisting for 14 years with a gradual exacerbation of the condition indicates that it MAY not be related to a serious disease or by now you would have seen more severe symptoms.

      Often this progression of symptoms is related to overuse of the arm(s) sometimes coupled with issues related to the cervical (neck) spine. Do not get distracted by the fact that the activities that you were participating in at the age 15 is now different from that which you do at age 29. The cause may therefore vary from compression of the nerve(s) to soft tissue injury or even joint degradation associated with conditions like arthritis. However there would be more evident signs of the latter condition at this point. You do not mention any tests or investigations that you have undergone and it may be time to see a specialist like an orthopedist or neurologist.

      It is difficult to “think out of the box” with such limited information and lack of reports after conducting the necessary investigative techniques. And this can definitely not be done on an online platform. You will need to physically see a medical specialist. Try the brace for at least 6 straight weeks and if possible, take a break from your work (some vacation time?) and see if your symptoms settle.

      We can only guide you towards a possible medical option (not solution) as indicated in the terms and conditions of our question and answer service. Consult with a doctor and if you can afford it, speak to a private doctor and insist upon the necessary tests and investigations even if your doctor does not feel it is warranted. You will probably have to pay for this “unnecessary” testing (which may not be covered by your private insurance or a national health insurance if available in your country) but this will help to exclude more serious conditions and possibly put your mind at rest.

  • Hazel10

    okay I’m kinda worried about my finger, my right index finger.
    About 3 days ago, I had a ring and by accident I fell asleep with my ring on, but only for about 30 to 60 mins and the ring wasn’t even tight.
    To read more of this question and the answer by Dr. Chris, please view the article on Swollen Right Index Finger After Sleeping With Ring.

  • Mike’s mom

    Please help solve this problem. Michael (my son) is 30, severely multiply impaired and in need of total care; he has limited movement normally. We put him on his left side at bedtime and when we got him up his entire left arm was swollen and hot. No apparent bite. He’s been put on valproic acid for 10 days now to control seizures. Is there a connection?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mike’s Mom

      An person who is immoble, for whatever reason, will experience swelling of the limbs, however, the heat you describe may indicate inflammation or infection like cellulitis. If there is an infection, you should take your son to a doctor and start antibiotics immediately. While this is not a commonly reported side effect of valproic acid, it is possible. It may also be an adverse drug reaction which means he needs immediate medical attention. The swelling and heat may also be due to inflammation caused by pressure on the limb so take note if it happens in other positions as well. Given your son’s condition, you should not leave this unattended. Speak to your doctor.

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  • Charlie Y


    I’ve been getting these really odd swellings, usually on my arm (from wrist to elbow) and once on my knee, saw no real cause for concern, but today I also got the same swellings on my buttocks and I’m a bit worried now.

    They are painless, sometimes itchy (but rarely) I get redness around the area, but thats it…no other symptoms, nothing even allergy related, although they go away when i take anti allergy tablets…

    I’ve never been allergic to anything, but I recently dyed my hair for the first time, and the bumps appeared around the same time then, but i’ve never had any above my arm…

    They seem to appear in areas i apply a large amount of pressure to, I.E leaning on my arm, sitting down, leaning on my knee.

    Please help?


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Charlie Y

      Since these swellings appear in such diverse and unrelated areas, the cause may be more serious than just a simple allergy. This could be due to angioedema which may be linked to certain autoimmune diseases. In one type of angioedema (hereditary angioedema), pressure on the are is enough to trigger the swelling. You need to see a doctor. Read these two articles for more information on angioedema – What is Angioedema? and Angioedema Causes and Types.
      This is not a conclusive diagnosis of angioedema and you need to consult with a doctor.

  • Charlie Y

    Sorry for the 2nd comment, but they are also very hot, but I have no infectious symptoms.

  • Michelle

    Hi Dr Chris,
    I am 39 and during the last 9 months I have taken up pole fitness. I have had no problems until my last training session where we did quite a few pullups on the pole to increase our arm strength. Immediately afterwards I had extreme pressure in both forearms. It was like my muscels had enlarge as my forearms had increased in size dramatically and were rock hard, my forearms were quite numb as well and I was light headed, I found it very difficult to move my fingers as well. It did subside after about 15 mins, but it did scare me and am not sure if it is something serious and if I can continue this sport.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      The question is whether your doctor gave you a clean bill of health before you started this sport. Many people take up a new sport or gyming without speaking to their doctor first. This can be dangerous.

      The fact that you have been doing this sport for 9 months and only now experienced symptoms could be an indication of an underlying problem. It may be as serious as reduced blood flow to the heart or brain or it could just be due to a pinched nerve in the neck. Your age does put you at a high risk of serious conditions and you need to see a doctor.

      It is also possible that this is minor and just due to muscle strain. See your doctor.

  • muhamad waqas

    why arm is swell up when the bone break down?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Muhamad

      Inflammation causes swelling and limited movement my also contribute to it.

  • alarkra

    Hi Dr Chris,

    I’ve had problems with swelling in my hands and feet as well as occasional shooting pains down my arms (and sometimes at other joints such as my knees and elbows. The agonizing shooting pains start suddenly from when I wake up on a morning and then can last 2 days and then the next morning I’ll wake up and they are totally gone). It’s always worst first thing in the morning and as the day goes on it wears off a bit, but I always have problems with my fingers being swollen at the joints all of the time. I have been to the doctor about it and was referred to a have my inflammation levels looked at for suspected arthritis, but nothing was proved after seeing a specialist and having ultrasounds of my joints, so I am at a loss as to what is causing it. I found that taking vitamin B for a while seemed to help after that was thought to be a possible cause (having the lack of it) but now that’s not having any effect at all and my levels for this vitamin are apparently now normal (I’m still taking it in hope that it will keep the shooting pains away). Any light you can shed on this would be really helpful as my GP (who is really helpful) and myself are stumped at what to do next! Can you advise me further as it’s really getting me down – I’m only 24?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Alarka

      The shooting pains down the arm and swelling of the joints are probably two different issues. These episodic pains may be related to a pinched thoracic or cervical nerve. You should speak to your doctor about this and further investigations, like an MRI, may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Given your age, it may just be triggered by severe muscle spasm which is affecting the vertebral column. Referred pain could be another issue due to neck/back muscle spasm.

      With regards to your joint swelling, there are many possible causes. If the swelling is evident to others, apart from you, then further investigation is definitely warranted. Swelling and pain of the joints would indicate arthritis, but it may not necessarily be rheumatoid arthritis. There are too many possible causes to get into here and if you are not finding any relief, then it may be time to seek a second opinion. Sometimes it can be due to strain from overuse or obesity, or it could be a symptom of some other chronic condition.

      You should go back to the specialist. Even if the results of first investigation proved inconclusive, your specialist must be suspecting other conditions for which further tests would have to be done.

  • Kat Dores

    Hi, my brother was playing football about 2 or 3 weeks ago and while playing someone kicked his hand upwards, if that makes sense. After this only his pinky finger swelled up and we think that it may be broken. He says it’s hard to move his finger, it is still looks swollen and it’s painful to touch.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi KatDores

      A fracture is definitely a possibility given the trauma. He needs an x-ray. It may be minor though and could just be a strain of the tendon. But first you should exclude a fracture and get him to a doctor immediately. If you wait too long, this fracture can complicate further and affect surrounding tissue or impair functioning of this finger in the long run.

  • Swati

    My father is 54 years of age and has diebeties.About a weak ago he complaint about numbness in fingers especially fingertips and three days later we noticed swelling in hands. This is eaqual in both hands and he feels no pain at all.The numbness and swelling is persistant.Also he is overweigt and suger level is almost always sligtly above normal. He also has frozen sholdiers.I am quite worried about it.Is this serious and what can be its cause?
    please help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Swati

      Your father should go in and see his doctor. Since he is a diabetic and it is affecting both hands, there is concerns about whether this is related to the diabetes or other conditions. A frozen shoulder would also be limiting mobility which can contribute towards moderate swelling. But the numbness is a cause for concern since it appeared so suddenly. If there is pain, redness, heat and swelling, it could be an infection like cellulitis which needs immediate medical attention. Either way, I would advise that you take your father in to a doctor. There are many possibilities for these symptoms but wasting time trying to diagnose it online will only be harmful to him. One week is already too long to have waited.

  • dearman02

    So, my whole arm is swollen, it starts at the shoulder and stops around the middle of my forearm, for right now. Last night it stopped at the elbow, and it has spread to the middle of the forearm, in less then 24 hrs. There is no pain, little bit of a tingling sensation, when my arm hangs to the side. Also warm tothe touch. Went to doctor today and he gave me antibiotics, but the swelling continues to spread further down my arm. He mention clots, but said I was too young and they are more common in the legs and that I should not worry…? Should I get a second opinion or head to the er? Any advice would be great thanks! Fran

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dearman02

      It may be an infection like cellulitis and even though you have started on antibiotics, it can take up to 10 days for the swelling to go down. For now continue on the antibiotics. If it is significantly worse after a day or two, you may have to go back to your doctor because the infection may not be responding to that type or dosage of antibiotic.

  • Dilpreet

    My dad’s sugar was low (diabetic) this morning so, we called the paramedics. They came and put a water drip on his right hand. Now his arm is swollen and it hurts. What are we suppose to do?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dilpreet

      You should either speak to your family doctor or take him through to the ER.

  • galaxy

    I had intestinal surgery a little over a week ago. Today I noticed that my whole left arm is swollen. No pain except where the IV was. Any suggestions on what may be causing this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Galaxy

      Swelling is common but for it to have arisen so long after surgery raises the questions about any underlying clots or other causes of lymphatic obstruction. It should be investigated if it persists or if you notice any change in sensation. To be on the safe side, see your doctor.

  • alarkra

    Hi Doctor Chris,

    So I took your advice and got my doctor to get all my bloods retested and this time they found something – I was very positive for rheumatoid issues and my inflammatory markers were way up – both of which explain my whole body being swollen up! I’ve been referred to specialist immediately. In the meantime while I wait for an appointment, is there a website you can recommend which would be good for me to have a read of with advice for how to cope with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases as I am so young (24)?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Alarka

      You can find many good websites through Google so I cannot recommend one specifically. However, I would advise that you speak to your doctor about lupus (SLE) as well. Women in their 20s are more likely to develop these condition which can initially appear as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the blood tests for RA may also be positive in lupus. Good luck!

  • galaxy

    Thank you, Dr. Chris. Turns out that I do have a blood clot in my upper arm. I am on blood thinners and they are trying to find out what caused it.

  • Tonykid

    my stomach is making too much noise it even flows to my heart and make me unconciouse.dizzigness on myfoot. it has last for years.Now it has become chronic.It is up to one month that i am lying.Fever,weakness and loose of apetite.my arm swell.i undergo tests like widal,E.C.G,scanning but most show normal only malaria is positive and my pvc is 35%.when i take like fryied patatoe my stool immediatly become watery.Doctor pls help.
    Some doctors says it is ulcer and they prescribed omeprazole,metrozole and amoxicilline but i took those medicine for up to one month,and some says it not ulcer since when they press middle of my chest i dont feel anything so assumed to be depression.now i discotinue with drugs.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tonykid

      Your symptoms are serious and the fact that you have a fever, experiencing weakness and there is a loss of appetite indicates a more serious condition than just an ulcer. Malaria can cause many of these symptoms and hopefully you are being treated appropriately. It would also be advisable to have an HIV test. If you are unsatisfied with your doctor’s approach, then you should consider seeking a second opinion.

  • KeaneaJane

    My lift arm has been swollen for two and a half weeks. I have gone to the doctor and he was unable to come up with a reason. I originally had a small bump under the skin and then a red trail with swelling along the train “down the arm”. This seemed to confuse the doctor, because most would travel up the arm not down. I am still very swollen and when I press on my arm including my wrist area there is a very large indentation left. Can anyone help and tell me what to do to get rid of this. The doctor did send me for an ultra sound on the veins in my neck and arm area, but I’ve not heard what the results were yet.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi KeaneaJane

      You should speak to your doctor about the results of the ultrasound. It is possible that this is a blockage of the lymphatic duct in the arm which may be due to a number of reasons. This seems like a more likely explanation given that you have pitting edema. Other causes of pitting edema should also be considered but this is dependent on the presence of other clinical features as well as your medical history. An infection of the lymphatic duct or deeper tissues of the skin could also be responsible but you should have been experiencing significant pain.

  • grahamejulie

    after an opperation on my left elbow my hand began to swell and i a bit woried what it could be any ideas ? thank’s coc

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Grahamjulie

      There could be many possible causes and it also depends on what type of operation you underwent. Post-operative swelling is not uncommon but you have to be on the lookout for an infection – you will notice burning, pain, redness of skin, warmth and so on. Another possibility is a blood clot or some obstruction of the lymphatic vessel or a node in the area. You should see your doctor about it.

  • sabrina

    My 74 year old grandmother was just released from the hospital yesterday. She was admitted for pneumonia [due to aspirating] she has 30% lung function, 1 month ago had 3 stints in her heart and 1 in her leg, 2 days ago she had a portacath placed in her right juglar. They decreased her lasix from 20mg every day to 20mg every other day due to progressive kidney failure. They didn’t send her home with a foly. She turns a dark red/almost purple when she tries to get up to use her bedside. Also has a weeping place on her left leg that has been running constantly for 2 days – the hospital didn’t send any sterile bandage with us. She hasn’t been running a temp but has had diarreah every 1-3 hours since yesterday[while in the hospital]. They switched her antibiotics to Zyvox. I was wondering if the change in antibiotics would cause the worsening of diarreah and also she has severe swelling in her left arm also in her hand and fingers. She does have CHF and I assume the fluid building up isn’t helping that any. She is also a diabetic on prednisone. Any help will be much apperciated.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sabrina

      Yes, the diarrhea could be due to the antibiotics. This is known as antibiotic associated diarrhea where prolonged use of antibiotics affect the normal bacteria in the gut. Some of these good bacteria overgrow and affect bowel activity. The swelling can be due to the heart and kidney failure but it may also be due to a blood clot in the left arm from IV needle use – drips, blood removed for tests and so on. You should contact her doctor to discuss these issues further. Her condition is obviously fragile at this stage any any complications or new symptoms should not be left unattended as it can have dire consequences if not managed appropriately.

  • Tonya

    I have been suffering from a bite or some kind of infection for about a month. At first it was a small circular rash type with little bumps with fluid surrounding it. It went away after two weeks and then a couple of days later the bumps reappeared around the edges. After the reappearance, I went to a clinic last Tuesday. I got antibiotics: Sulfameth/Trimethoprim. I have been taking them twice daily, but it seems to have gotten worse. Now, I have small itchy bumps on the along the inside of my forearm and today I woke up with swelling from my elbow to my wrist. I took some ibuprophen to hopefully reduce the swelling.
    I have about 5 more days to take the pills, but they don’t seem to be doing anything. I’m worried that this infection will keep traveling..sigh.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tonya

      It is important to identify the type of rash. There are many infectious causes that may not be due to bacteria and could even be a systemic infection that causes this type of rash. In addition, it may be due to allergic or autoimmune causes. You need to see your doctor again now that there is swelling of the arm even though you have not completed the course of the antibiotics. I would advise that you do not delay any further and if you are not getting the proper attention from your doctor, you should seek a second opinion. Blood tests, starting with a complete blood count (CBC), will be required at this point. Your history prior to the appearance of these symptoms may allow your doctor to identify a possible cause.

  • katie

    hi dr. chris!

    i’m 22 and i work in kitchens. for the past couple years i’ve been suffering from what i suspect is tendonitis. occasionally my hands (usually my knife-hand) will cramp up while i’m working, and my fingers will be stuck in odd positions for maybe 30 seconds. (sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t at all.) anyway, it’s been acting up recently, and i woke up this morning with intense searing pain in my hands/forearms, and swelling in the hands/wrists. because it’s been so off and on i haven’t seen my doctor about it, but it’s never woken me up like that before. i took ibuprofen and it went away pretty quickly.

    other than trying to limit the use of my hands when possible and taking antiflammatories when necessary, is there anything you might suggest i try? any advice is much appreciated!!!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Katie

      It may very well be tendonitis or a contracture. Of course this can be related to overuse due to the strain associated with your line of work. However, it may be linked to more serious neuromuscular conditions. You should have this investigated. Anti-inflammatories may provide symptomatic relief, in terms of the pain, etc., for a short period of time but this is not the answer. See your doctor, exclude more serious conditions and consider a wrist brace as well if necessary.

  • sara

    hi Doctor,

    I am 26 female, single. I have developed swelling on my hands and wrist since one month. It happens when I wake up in the morning and it disapears after 5-6 hours and sometime it didn’t. I am healthy not taking any medication except Raccotane (for acne). Please help I am so worried

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sara

      One month is a long period of time to be experiencing a swelling of this nature. The fact that you mention swelling but there is no pain or tingling coupled with your age makes many possible causes, like circulatory conditions less likely but not impossible. You should take note that the medication you are using has a host of severe side effects with swelling being one of them. Since it is affecting both your hand simultaneously indicates a systemic rather than localized cause. You need to see your doctor about it.

  • Justin


    I am a 27 year old male, in athletic physical condition. I recently began having pain in my elbow, most likely caused by over use from several hours of computer work, and i saw the doctor at work and they said tendinitis, which is what i believe it to be as well. The doctor gave me a compression/arm wrap, that slides over my arm and has a Velcro strap to tighten around the elbow to alleviate the pain in my elbow. It does help a lot in conjunction with the Advil and the exercises, even after only two days. But when i wear the item it causes my arm to swell from the front of the brace to the hands and fingers, and even after i take the brace off the arm still stays swollen to the point that it looks like i gained 20 pounds overnight, hiding all of the veins that are normally there and distinctly different in appearance. Is this just a result of poor circulation for extended times while wearing the brace? How long should it take from my arm to return to normal appearance after removing the brace?


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Justin

      From what you say, it is very likely related to use of the brace. If you are able to alter the tightness, try not to strap it on too tightly. This can impede blood and lymph flow. However, removing the brace and moderate movement should allow the swelling to settle quickly. However, if you notice spontaneous swelling, not related to the use of the brace, you need to speak to your doctor about other possible causes which may also be responsible for the elbow pain.

      The length of time for which you need to use the brace may vary – usually once the symptoms settle, you can use the brace for shorter periods or stop altogether provided that you do not strain the arm. This can be anywhere from a few days, especially if you use the medication as prescribed to 1 to 3 weeks, or possibly even longer. It just depends on the severity of the condition and how well you respond to treatment. Speak to your doctor about it.

  • Zoey

    I’m a 23 years old female and my arm is swollen from fingers to shoulder and there is no apparent reason, I have not injured the arm and I did go see a doctor but he pretty much told me to Google it. It’s not in any pain but the muscles do feel a bit weaker in the swollen arm (right arm) than in the other one (left obviously) that is fine. I’ve tried putting on some gel that is supposed to help with inflammation but it hasn’t done anything for the arm. The muscles on my neck and shoulder area are sore too, could this have something to do with the arm? Somebody told me it’s possible the veins and nerves going from my shoulder to my arm are somehow pressed down on but they couldn’t tell me what to do about that. If that is the cause should I consider surgery?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Zoey

      Both weakness and swelling does raise the concern about compression, not so much of the blood vessels, but rather the lymphatic vessels. These are small tubes that carry tissue fluid back into the bloodstream. Lymph nodes, which are enlarged parts of these vessels where the lymphatic fluid is filtered, may also be the cause of the obstruction. You may notice this as a tender enlarged lump.

      A blood clot in the arm should not have occurred in somebody of your age unless you had an IV drip setup or numerous IV injections, which can cause a clot or collapse of the blood vessel.

      It is important to undergo further investigation to try to isolate any mass that may be compressing the nerve and/or lympathic vessels. Your doctor may consider an ultrasound, x-ray, MRI etc. The lack of pain may mean that it is not an inflammatory response and the anti-inflammatory gel may therefore not work. Avoid other types of muscle rubs because some can increase blood flow to the area and aggravate the swelling. It is advisable to see your doctor again or visit an orthopedist for further assessment.

  • Kimberley


    I’m a 20 year old female with heart disease and lupus in my family history. I am 30 lbs overweight, and my blood pressure is always unusually low, but otherwise I’m in excellent health and have no other problems. I’ve been tested for lupus at age 15, and it has been negative.

    My hands sometimes swell up painfully when I restrict the bloodflow a little (such as carrying grocery bags or a backpack), and when I exercise (such as jogging) the tops of my legs go red and swell as well. The swelling usually doesn’t go down immediately, and my joints near the effected area are stiff and sore afterward.

    Is this strongly related to my family history of heart disease and lupus? Or might this seem indicative of another problem? Thank you for your time.

    • Dr. Chris

      HI Kimberley

      This appears to be venous insufficiency where blood is not leaving the area efficiently for whatever reason. Yes, it can be an early sign of heart disease although given your age, this may be unlikely even though there is a strong family history. It is nevertheless possible and more so because you are overweight. It could also be related an autoimmune condition and this may be the initial signs and symptoms. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other connective tissue diseases may be responsible. Speak to you doctor about it. Remember that when you strain any area, especially if you are not a fit person, swelling is quite likely. But a visit to your doctor would be a good idea.

  • Martinwylde

    Hi there I have severe pain in my lower arm and elbow on my left side I have not injured it in any way and it just started up without any notice It has been like this for over a day now I have been using ibuprofen gel to mask the pain but it doesn’t last very long there is also swelling around the elbow and wrist areas and numbness at times and muscular weakness
    Is there any ideas you have about what it could be

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Martinwylde

      While you may have not injured it, it is possible that you strained both joints (elbow and wrist) in some activity, and possibly the muscles are also strained. This would account for the pain and swelling of the joints. It is difficult to say what it could be without knowing your history or examining it. You should see a doctor. Of course there are various other possibilities but since this has just been for a day and of sudden onset, it is most likely due to strain.

  • Lauren

    Hi Doctor,
    I’m a 24 yr old female in reasonable shape. In May I partook in a silly fitness challenge (too many pushups having not done any at all) and had rhabdomyolysis in my right arm, DOMS, and perhaps slight compartment syndrome. When I spend a lot of time on the computer, my right hand gets very swollen, all the way up to my shoulder. There’s a slight dull pain as well. I saw an orthopedic surgeon after I was treated for the rhabdo, and he just pressed my arm and told me to ice and elevate it and charged me exorbitant amounts of $ for it.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if my present symptoms are related to the rhabdo injury, or if it’s something new entirely (like Carpal Tunnels? or tendonitis in my elbow??) and what I can do to mitigate the symptoms. My fingers on my right hand are significantly more swollen than on my left, and my knuckles are obscured by the swelling. I also have to expend a lot more effort to grip things with my right hand than with my left.

    I would appreciate any feedback very very much!! Thank you so much 🙂


    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Lauren

      Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and so on would not cause such significant swelling of the fingers. Rhabdomyolysis is quite a severe condition and it is quite likely that the symptoms you are experiencing now is related to it. There are other musculoskeletal conditions that could also be present but may have been missed thus far. You do need to see an orthopedic surgeon and if you are not satisfied with your current practitioner, seek another preferably by asking your family doctor (GP) for a referral. I don’t think that any advice that we could offer you would be of much help at this point. Please consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Nikki

    Hi Doctor,

    My mother is in her 4oth,since last year she discovered that she is a high blood pressure patient.she was on medical treatment to reduce the high blood pressure,but recently she has stopped taking the pills as she no longer get the high blood pressure symtoms.she has also started going to gym, but recently during exercises her hands swell a lot and swells more at the left one than the right one.Some days back she also got a mild chest pain.As a science student I suspect heart problems,can you please tell me the other possibilities and the requirements that should be taken,thank you Doctor.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Nikki

      Although I don’t know you mother’s case, it is VERY UNLIKELY that her hypertension (high blood pressure) has resolved. Your mum cannot judge her blood pressure based on symptoms. Hypertension is a silent disease most of the time. Exercise, diet and so on is helpful but in your mother’s age group, the hypertension is persistent (probably for the rest of her life) and in most cases, stopping the medication is not an option. Most cases of hypertension in this age group is chronic meaning that it has to be treated over the long term. She may be experiencing cardiac related problems and she should see a doctor immediately. She is risking her health and possibly her life by having stopped her hypertension medication without her doctor’s approval.

  • RUBY

    My 85 year old mom fractured her arm near her wrist. She had her arm in a cast. After it was removed, her hand is still VERY swollen. Also, thumb movement causes severe pain. Is this normal? Thanks so much!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ruby

      Swelling following removal of the cast is not unusual. It should settle within a few days to a week plus. However, given your mother’s age, healing may not be complete and swelling, pain and even limited mobility may be present for life. If it is very swollen, warm to touch and there is redness, try to take her to a doctor as soon as possible as it may be an infection.

  • adixon


    Question about my auntie she has pain in the neck and shoulder from her arm being swollen from her finger all the way up to her shoulder. She has seen the Dr. they did all kind of test, xray’s, ct scan, nerve testing etc. and so far the doctor have not diagnose her arm. she wears a sling everyday for a year now and the swelling of the arm is still there. I think the pain in her neck and shoulder is from her arm being swollen and heavy. She is unable to hold her own arm up, she has to use her other hand to move her other arm around, no strength at all in her arm. Please help

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Adixon

      Although you may be reporting your aunt’s case to the best of your ability, you may be missing pertinent points here and this is why third party reports can be confusing. Your aunt needs to see a doctor herself, preferably an orthopedic surgeon/orthopedist. The reason for the swelling needs to be ascertained and there is no reason why it should be so swollen and immobilized in a sling for such a long time without any cause having been identified. Yes, the neck and shoulder problem may be due to the arm but first focus on identifying the cause of the arm problem. You may be unaware of certain facts of this case and therefore your aunt needs to seek medical advice and treatment.

  • konop

    Im a 20 year old male, about two weeks ago I sprained my thumb playing football one week later the army doctor decided to put me in a cast up to my elbow its been about six days in the cast now and out of no where my arm started to swell I was just wondering if I should be worried or could it just be somthing simple.Not on any medication and recently stopped all physical activity (i.e. lifting, puch ups, sit ups, running)

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Konop

      Moderate swelling after immobilization of a limb does occur. But you have to be cautious if it is turning red, becoming warm to the touch and more painful. Especially if you have a fever as well. This may indicate an infection. However since you are concerned, it may be a good idea to go back to the doctor and report the swelling.

  • HLOwens

    Hello, I am a 30 year old white female in good health. Here’s my issue that I’m praying you can help me with:

    Sunday 11/28/10: I visited the local ER for gross hematuria for the past 72+ hours; temp 99.1 in ER; diagnosed with UTI (1+ bacteria in urine as well as gross hematuria); prescribed Cipro & begin taking Cipro same day

    Tuesday 11/30/10: Woke up feeling extremely ill (sick) & this feeling lasted the entire day; I slept 75-80% of the day; I was extremely nauseated & had to take Phenergan several times throughout the day; Strangely, I discovered a large bruise with a white center (and a knot/lump within the white center) on the inside of my left forearm Tuesday evening while getting ready for bed. The bruise and knot/lump were absolutely PAINLESS at the time of discovery. And I know that I did NOT suffer any injury whatsoever the day the bruise was discovered or the days prior.

    Wednesday 12/1/10: I became extremely nauseated after dinner when I took Cipro pill; I was so sick that I had to go to bed for the rest of the night. I related this nausea on both Wednesday evening & all day Tuesday to stem from me beginning Cipro for UTI. **I completely stopped taking Cipro after getting sick on this night. Took a total of 7 pills altogether from 11/28-12/1.)

    Thursday 12/2/10: Visited local walk-in physician’s clinic & showed this unexplained bruise with a white center & knot to the nurse practitioner on duty. He immediately diagnosed it as a spider bite & ordered a CBC, which came back completely normal.

    Friday 12/3/10: I noticed my left arm felt a little swollen from wrist to elbow when I got up that morning; the minor swelling quickly resolved; I had a slight muscle ache on TOP of forearm by the end of the day.

    Saturday 12/4/10: My arm was swollen again upon waking up; the swelling, once again, resolved itself; However, it began to swell again that evening and it started to become sore, like a muscular soreness, from my wrist to my elbow.

    Sunday 12/5/10: Arm was swollen upon getting up for the day and the swelling really didn’t subside throughout the day. My arm hurt for most of the day – the pain was deep set, like bone pain. I also noticed that my face & neck looked puffy & slightly swollen.

    Monday 12/6/10: Upon getting out of bed, I see that my left arm is obviously swollen and feels very “tight” when my wrist and/or elbow is bent. I cannot remove wedding band, which is how I know my fingers are swollen as well. My arm has been very weak & shaky all day; the weakness progressed and was much worse by night’s end. There is pain that radiates from my fingertips up to my shoulder & all the way through to my left shoulder blade on my back (feels like a deep bone pain; sometimes it can feel like sharp, stabbing pains). I’ve also been suffering with tingling (pins and needles feeling) from my fingertips all the way up to my shoulder blade. My arm, hand & shoulder occasionally feel as if they are burning deep inside (not on the surface). Temp had been no higher than 99.0 the entire day.

    From the initial discovery of this large unexplained bruise with white center & knot on 11/30 to now (12/7/10), there has been NO redness on any part of my arm, hand or shoulder. There no blisters or pimples or bumps that look as if they could be popped. Although it’s been a week since I first saw it, the bruise & it’s white center w/knot is still present though the black & blueness is not quite as “bright” as it was on 11/30/10.

    What on earth could I suddenly be suffering from???? While I’ve had UTI’s in the past & have taken Cipro for them before, I have NEVER experienced an unexplained bruise with NO injury, along with the swelling, weakness, tingling, etc. that I’ve encountered over the past 7 days.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi HLOwens

      An infection would be the most likely explanation but strangely enough your CBC came back normal. I would advise that you see a doctor who will most likely repeat the CBC. The knot may be an abscess or even a swollen lymph node. A bite (due to the tiny bump) was a reasonable assumption. Repeated UTIs are not common in males of your age unless it is related to a prostate problem, repeated bladder stones or an STD (sexually transmitted disease). It is difficult to say much just on the information you provided without further testing. The fact that you had no injury is also a cause for concern because this could be a systemic infection. You need to see a doctor who will follow through with the relevant tests.

  • rick1971

    I woke up one morning and my hand had no feeling in it. All my fingers where asleep. I shook them out and then my middle finger started hurting like a pain I never felt before. My right hand and forearm where both swollen. Finally after 20 minutes my feeling came back. When I got to work I noticed on the bottom left side of my wrist just below my palm there was a soft lump just smaller than a golf ball. Had vascular ultra sound to check for clot, none. Went to see a Ortho surgeon and he said it wasn’t a cyst. I have a hard time writing my name without all fingers going numb and cramping up. You can see my fingers cramp up and move to the side where they feel stuck for a moment. Now as you go down my wrist just past the lump there is another section that is puffing up but it’s rectangle looking and looks like they both are changing color to a greenish tint. what could it be?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Risk1971

      Your symptoms appear to be related to a problem with the circulation in the arm but the most likely cause of the sudden onset would have been a clot and this has been excluded. The other possibility for the lump is a swollen lymph node (lymphadenopathy) and possibly even lymphadenitis. However this would not be causing the “greenish tinge” that you are seeing. You should go back and see your doctor. An MRI may be worth considering at this point.

  • chronos1015

    I am a 28 year old mother of 8 week old twins. Recently my fingers (thumb & index, middle, & ring) have swollen some and gotten very tingly/numb. I recently had to remove my rings. I did not have much swelling aside from the very end of my pregnancy, but was very swollen after delivery for maybe 2 weeks. I have a family history of carpal tunnel, but did not have it myself (was tested twice prior to pregnancy due to frequent hand/arm pain). I have previously seen a Rhuematologist and been tested for RA, Lupus, etc. All tests came back clear. I have been diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome and arthritis in my hands. I am breastfeeding and saw that breastfeeding and holding babies can cause carpal tunnel symptoms in new moms. The symptoms may have coincided with an increase in the amount of breastfeeding I was doing, I am not sure. Would that account for the minor swelling of my fingers as well? Is there anything I can do to help relieve symptoms until I decide to discontinue breastfeeding (which will probably be several to many months)? I have asthma, hypothyroidism, respiratory allergies, & raynaud’s. I am not usually experiencing pain or a lot of temperature variance in my hands like I did pre-pregnancy. I have lost 20 of the 40 lbs I put on while pregnant – am 5’2″ and weigh 145 lbs currently.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Chronos

      It is unlikely that the carpal tunnel syndrome, if present, would be responsible for this swelling given that you have other more likely causes present. Arthritis (you do not specify what type) and the hypothyroidism may be responsible. An allergic disposition means that you are prone to developing localized allergic reactions that causes transient swelling that you describe – of course, some skin rash and possibly itching would also have been present. You say you previously saw a rheumatologist and it depends on how long ago that was. You may need to undergo some of those tests again. For now, you should speak to your doctor and possibly consider seeing an endocrinologist (a medical specialist dealing with hormone related disorders).

  • chuy

    1st day at my new job I pack chicken boxes in crates after work that night I have severe pain from my elbows down so much that I didn’t sleep that night what could it be its also my first time ever working a real job

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Chuy

      This sounds like muscle strain and given that there is a clear cause (sudden, strenuous, physical activity) there is no reason to suspect any other more serious cause. It should take anywhere from a few days to a week or more. Your body should adapt over time and the pain will subside. Your ability to do more strenuous work will also increase. Speak to your doctor though, just to be sure that there is no other underlying cause.

  • ConcernedJoe

    Recently, my bicept became swollen…I decided to wait it out to see if it would just get better…now 6 days later, the swelling has gone down to my wrist, making my entire left arm unbendable, and not able to move it at all…it it hot to touch, VERY painful, and feels like my arm is about to explode…someone help 🙁

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi ConcernedJoe

      Hopefully you have already sought medical attention. This may be an infection or a blood clot which could be progressing and needs to be examined by a doctor IMMEDIATELY. Please do not waste any time in seeking medical attention if you have not already done so as the infection could spread to other parts of your body, apart from your limb, with dire consequences.

      • Momina

        Myself momina farhath. I am 20 yr old. From a month I am experiencing a stiff body whn I wake up in the morning. Usually whn I wake up late. After that I had a bad neck stiffness n sumtms pain too. Frm three days I am getting very bad pain in my right hand to up the shoulder such is unbearable and is swollen. My right hand and the fingers are swollen compared to my left hand. Suggest me urgently..

        • Hi Momina. There are several possible causes for your neck stiffness and hand swelling. It could be related to overexertion, especially if you are doing some activity with your hands for long hours while stooping over. That is more likely in your age group. On the other hand there are also other possible conditions like rheumatoid arthritis which typically presents with joint symptoms that are worse in the morning upon waking. A doctor needs to assess you to give a conclusive answer.

    • Lynn

      The same thing just happened to me. One week ago, the pain started in my left shoulder, then worked it’s way down into my bicep and progressed into my wrist and hand yesterday. It felt like someone was twisting my arm and breaking it. The pain was excruciating! I finally went to urgent care medical center today. Received diagnosis of cellulitis and was given a prescription for Keflex 500 mg 4xday. Took my first dose 3 hours ago and I already feel 25%better. I can now bend my arm up to my chest and the swelling in my wrist has gone down some. This morning I couldn’t bend it at all. There’s still some pain but the way I feel right now is much better than how I felt before going to doctor. I’m thankful I didn’t wait any longer. Honestly, I should have gone a few days ago.

  • Karen Lee

    Hello Dr. Chris,

    My father-in-law was admitted to the hospital last night with severe pain in his right arm which had now swollen up along with his right foot. He has had an episode like this before (as recently as several weeks ago) and at that time his doctors were thinking it could be either Gout or RA. They finally concluded that he had some sort of infection in his blood and sent him home with pills (25 a day, to be exact). The pain and swelling eventually went away, but now it’s back and just as bad. He is a lung cancer surviver and recently had a stent put in on the right side of his heart to bypass a blockage. He also suffers from severe back pain which he had no problems with until after this last surgery. The doctor’s still can’t figure out what’s causing his swelling or pain. Any idea’s on what might be happening?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Karen Lee

      There is a good chance that the infection either recurred or never resolved in the first place. Of course, there is always the possibility that his cardiac condition or even a related kidney disorder is contributing to this but the one-sided swelling is a concern and needs to be investigated closely as an infection can quickly progress and be life-threatening. Speak to his doctor about this and ensure that he is being monitored by a medical specialist. This is a delicate time given his history and any severe symptom needs immediate medical attention.

  • Epona NP

    @ConcernedJoe I hope you have received medical attention
    The symptoms you list could be attributable to a few serious
    conditions like compartment syndrome if you had trauma to the arm,
    phlebitis possibly from a blood clot (dvt), cellulitis, or a
    # of other conditions. When there is sufficient edema to
    impede movement damage to tissues, nerves, and blood vessels could
    occur. Redness, pain, swelling that doesn’t improve with rest and
    immobilization, increasing pain and edema (swelling) that spreads
    or has no known cause should be cared for by a medical professional.
    Also numbness and tingling with prolonged edema and impaired movement
    needs emergency medical attention. [EDITED]

    * Note from editor : Please refrain from giving medical advice and mentioning brand names of drugs. Readers often use this advice as a means to delay seeking medical attention by managing a condition within the home environment. This has medico-legal implications for our publication. Thank you for your input.

  • megan

    Im 17 i hav slight bulging discs which cause me emense pain in my left arm leg fingers toes now onto of this my left arm and hand are swelling not the joints but between them. I dont know where to turn nobody can help and im left handed can barely use my arm i walk lik my left dise had a stroke because im in so much pain if anyone else has anything like this and found an answer please email me i need help and answers mosley122695@aim.com thanks for helping if you can. I cant work or go to college because im not supposed to drive i have to take 5 ifferent pain killers in the morning an hour before getting up or i cant move i physically cant do mjch for myself anymore.

    • Megan, you definitely need attention from a medical specialist or team of specialists who can manage your condition. Five different pain killers in the morning for a young person who is now not able to lead a productive life is also a major concern.

      So is the swelling. Swelling is not common with radiculopathy (symptoms related to conditions like nerve compression/pinched nerve through a bulging disc), unless your hand has been immobilized for a long period of time. Even then the swelling should be moderate at most, since a pinched nerve from a bulging disc is not an inflammatory condition of the hand. So the swelling does need further investigation.

      Secondly bulging of discs at your age is not common unless it was related to trauma to the back or serious bone conditions that are uncommon for your age.

      Please note that we strongly advise against giving out your contact details in these comment boxes.

  • Skittlette Thomas

    im 27i have swelling in my left hand n arm i am not to sure wat is goin on see i got a tattoo in the area but 3 days after i got reall sharp pain in my chest on my left side as well n now the ink is pullin out of my skin n the swelling is not goin down but i dnt think it was the tat

    • Hi Skittlette. It is difficult to say whether it is the tattoo or not as the problem needs to be examined in person by a doctor. However, the most likely cause is the latest incident which is the tattoo.

      It could be an infection. allergic reaction or just inflammation from the trauma to the skin as a result of the tattoo. The correlation with the left sided chest pain is difficult to establish through an online forum.

      Minor swelling can occur with overuse and injury – two common causes of swelling of an appendage. But since the issue of the tattoo hangs in th balance, the possibility of an infection or allergy also becomes more likely. See your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Tanner

    Im 18 and my right arm is bigger than my left by a sizable margin. From fingers to shoulder, the arm is distinctly more red than the other side. My right hand is always hot and the severity of the color changes from day to day. Ive had this problem for 4 or 5 months and have checked with doctors. THere is no blood clot or any pain. Just bigger and red. Have done exercises doctor recommended and it has not helped. Any ideas on problem?

    • Hi Tanner. In acute cases one would suspect an infection of one arm. Your symptoms are indicative of inflammation (heat and swelling although pain absent) or venous/lymphatic congestion (blockage of blood/lymph leaving the hand). A blood clot would be the most probable cause of the latter but not the only possibility.

      It is also important to remember than one side of the body does not match the other side in size. Humans are not 100% symmetrical in this regard. The degree of physical activity on one side can affect the size of it but there are also other factors that may affect the size from side to the other. Nevertheless further diagnostic investigation is required if there is too big a difference between both sides.

      If your current doctors are not able to give you a definitive answer why this is occurring, then you may need to see another practitioner preferably a specialist. Start with your orthopedic specialist and if necessary consult with a plastic surgeon. The latter does not mean that surgery is your only option but he/she may be able to give you more insight into why this is occurring.

      It is only once you know why this is occurring that you can then look at a possible treatment option.

    • Felicia

      Hi Tanner. Did you ever find out what was going on with your arm? My son is having similar issue with his left arm swelling and a different color that is reddish. The swelling includes his wrist, hand, peck and back muscles on the left side. His veins are more pronounced too. He is 21 and works out to build his muscles. He has had blood work,urine work, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound. They were all fine. His family doctor told him to stop working out, not protein shakes, or fish oil for 2 weeks. If the swelling hasn’t gone down, he will do a muscle biopsy. It’s been 1 week and it still hasn’t gone down. He has no pain but states that it feels “tired”. All the doctors were stumped They stated that if it were a blood clot, his arm would be sore.I am worried!! Any ideas as to what this could be HealthHype?

      • Hi Felicia. Bruising occurs with vigorous physical activity. This may be tiny ruptures in the underling blood vessels. You can refer to this article https://www.healthhype.com/bruise-easily-skin-bruising-meaning-reasons-causes.html where it mentions bruising under strenuous workouts. This is sometimes compounded by certain supplements. It is not an uncommon occurrence in people who body build. However, if it persists even if he stops his workouts then it could be some other condition. So his doctor is taking the correct approach. Wait and see. Make sure he follows up with his doctor.

  • Katie

    Yesterday afternoon my left arm got swollen and slightly purple in color, fairly quickly. I have a pacemaker on my left side and it concerned me. The cardiologist said to get checked, the ER did an ultrasound and it showed no clot. The swelling was going down by then and the doctor said it was probably a clot that resolved itself. Today, it’s only been slightly swollen. This afternoon I was kneading bread dough, and thus using my arm muscles. Immediately afterward, my arm swelled again. Not as badly or as large as yesterday, but some. Then it went down after a while. It’s still slightly swollen, but not as much. What could be going on?

    • Hi Katie. A blood clot is the main concern for the symptoms you have. It can arise suddenly but resolve just as suddenly even without any treatment. The fact that these symptoms came and went largely excludes other possibilities like infections. It is difficult for us to say what else it could be through an online platform. You should see your cardiologist again if you have not already done so. If this is arising your doctor may need to put you on other anticoagulants (anti-clotting drugs).

      Do not ignore the symptoms entirely if it is severe as the consequences can be serious. You can read more about acute limb ischemia that arises with a blood clot in the arm at this link https://www.healthhype.com/blood-clot-in-leg-arm-signs-symptoms-of-thrombosis-embolism.html

  • Mari

    I work very hard on Housekeeping and I end up with this finger pain and sort of swelling. I have it from about three days now and I have to go back to work but Im worried about it.

    • Hi Mari. You could have injured the finger and did not even realize it at the time. It could also be infected or it may just be strain of the tendons and joints. Continuing to use the finger may be aggravating the symptoms. However, the other concern is that this could be conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or similar chronic musculoskeletal problems. See your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Vincent Parrish

    My 20 month old daughter woke up this morning with a left hand and fingers swollen, she has no pain. This past Sunday morning I noticed she had some sort of insect bite on back side of her left knee. Anyone have any idea what this could be?

    • Hi Vincent. It could be an insect bite again although the bite mark may not be clearly evident. Even if the insect is not venomous, some people do get an allergic reaction to the saliva of the insect. This can cause significant swelling, redness and so on. It would be advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible.

  • divyanshpandey

    i have donate my blood in a pathology for test the decease but my right arm swells just after that..please help me what should i do for this pain.

    • Hi Divyanshpandey. See your doctor immediately. It could be an infection or a blood clot related to the blood sample that was taken. Sometimes this can be end up with very serious consequences if you do not get treatment as soon as possible. your doctor will tell you if it is an infection or blood clot and advise your further.

  • Violet

    my arm and hand, fingers are swollen I have been getting a massage had breast cancer and the lymph nodes were removed. I’m out of state right now is there anything I can do until I see my doctor in a week for it

    • Hi Violet. Firstly stop massaging the area. You could make matters worse. Swelling may occur for several reasons – it may be due to inflammation, there may be a problem with blood circulation or it could be due to a lymphatic blockage. Until you have it checked up, massage is not advisable. Unfortunately it is difficult to advise you on what you should do until the condition has been assessed by a doctor, and a diagnosis has been reached. Resting the arm, icing it, compression and elevation (RICE) is commonly advised for soft tissue injuries but it would be advisable to be cautious with this approach as well since the underlying cause has not been identified as yet.

  • Maria Mendoza

    I have both of my arms swollen…i have pain…..from my elbow and up toshoulder. … i also havs several lumps both breast. ….they told me the lump are cyst. ….i am soscared they are wrong

    • Hi Maria. You should seek a second opinion if you are concerned that the current diagnosis is incorrect. Your gynecologist may conduct a mammogram and other investigations to confirm that the breasts lumps are cysts, or not. Swelling of both arms are unlikely to be due to an injury or infection although it is possible. You also need to see your doctor about this, as it may be related to heart and/or kidney problems if it is not associated with the breast problem.

  • mark McElhaney

    I had a tight wristband on my wrist because I had fallen a couple weeks ago and I’m sore and it caused my arm to swell all up is that normal

    • Hi Mark. It really depends on how tight it was but it should not have swollen up. The swelling may instead be inflammation related to the fall or injury caused by the wrist band or something else altogether. Of course there are also concerns about circulatory disturbances that could have caused this. If the swelling and soreness does not go down after a few hours, or if symptoms worsen then you should see your doctor immediately.

  • Christina Panza

    My husband is 50 years old and suffers from what we think is arthritis, but they haven’t pinpointed the cause of the arthritis. They did blood tests and said he does not have rheumatoid arthritis but they also did x-rays and said that his joints didn’t indicate osteoarthritis so not sure why he has arthritis pain. About a week ago, he noticed that his right arm, wrist, and hand were swollen. He also felt a small, hard lump underneath his upper arm in the same place where he used to have a soft lump that his doctor previously had told him was a lipoma. The lipoma is now gone and in it’s place is this small, hard lump. He saw the doctor today and the doctor ordered an MRI. I know we just have to wait and see but I would like to know if there are any things that could be causing these symptoms BESIDES some kind of cancer of the lymphatic system. I know that could be a possibility but I just need to think of other possibilities so I don’t freak out too much between now and when he has his MRI – which is over a week away. I am a worrier and I love him so much so it’s hard to cope. Any information you can provide would be helpful.

    • Hi Christina. It is quite difficult to say what may be the cause without an MRI. His doctor must have said the same and that is the reason why diagnostic investigations are so important. Firstly the diagnosis of a lipoma has to be confirmed if it has not already been confirmed conclusively. Lipomas are benign but may people worry about liposarcomas. A liposarcoma is cancerous, while a lipoma is not. People who have lipomas do not have a higher risk of developing liposarcomas as is sometimes thought. However, there is a rare exception known as an atypical lipoma which can become a liposarcoma. So this is one possibility although vary rare as mentioned. Of course, this is not to say that there is any concern about a liposarcoma in your husband’s case. The other reasons why the doctor has decided on doing the MRI needs to be discussed directly with the doctor.

  • Derek Signorini

    I have an issue with my right arm. It is very swollen with pitting edema. I had a PICC line just recently removed, and the swelling started a few days before it was removed. I also have a right subclavical catheter for dialysis. Besides the obvious reason for swelling, Kidney Failure, I am not experiencing any other swelling in my body except for this right arm. Doctor ordered a sonogram which turned up negative for any blockage. Prior to the PICC line being removed, my upper arm in my tricep area was swollen and sore and that area seems to be the region that is slightly painful to the touch and when I extend my arm it is painful. Also the edema is worse upon waking in the morning. I sleep sitting upright in a chair. Did something go wrong with the PICC line? Is there an issue with my catheter?

    • Hi Derek. The last two possibilities that you put forward could account for the pain. When pain occurs in situations such as yours, an obstruction of a blood vessel needs to be excluded as a possible cause as well as an infection. Obviously your doctor has done the necessary investigations to exclude these two possibilities. However, it is difficult to say beyond this what may be wrong just through an online platform. If your doctor is not too concerned then you should give it a few days and if it does not resolve then you should speak to your doctor again. Watch out for symptoms like sudden paleness or bluish tinge of the skin, numbness and so on. This requires immediate medical attention.

  • Gabriella

    I’ve recently moved like 2 days ago and ,noticed my vein on my wrist was iching and has a lump of redness this has never happened to me in life I’m 23 just want to know if it’s something I need to take care of asap

    • Hi Gabriella. It is difficult to say through an online platform but it could be an insect bite. You may not have noticed it at the time, and it would be more likely to occur while relocating since bugs may be disturbed at the time. It could also be related to an allergic reaction although it should have been present at other sites as well. However, there is a possibility that this lesion is unrelated to an insect bite or allergy and the only way to say for sure is to consult with a doctor who can assess it in person.

  • Marcy K

    I am a 38 year old female. I am in good health and have not injured or strained my hand/fingers in any way. I am a smoker. I recently started experiencing progressive swelling in my right hand. It started about 4 days ago with a minor itch on the side of the ring finger. I thought it could have been a bug bite but did not see much in terms of bite marks. The finger started swelling in the middle within just a few hours. The next day, the whole finger was swollen and the fingers adjacent to that one started swelling as well. Now, 4 days after the initial notice of something going on, my 4 fingers on that hand are very swollen. There is no redness, no pain. Minimal coolness due to fluid retention. There is no swelling anywhere else on my body and the swelling does not seem to be progressing pass the knuckles. Any ideas what this may be?

    • Hi Marcy. The lack of a clear bite or sting mark does not necessarily mean there was no such injury, especially since the swelling started with just one finger. However, there are many other causes. The lack of redness and pain does not indicate inflammation, although the swelling could be masking some of these symptoms. You would probably want to look at conditions where a blood vessel or lymphatic vessel is obstructed thereby impeding the drainage of fluid and blood in the area. This can occur for many reasons but you should see a doctor who can run further investigations before reaching a diagnosis.

  • Matthew O

    25 year old male. 300lbs. Butcher and cut meat for 10 hrs a day, 5 days a week. Today I got a sharp pain at the base of my thumb on the back side of my hand. Then about an hour later, the outside of my wrist would hurt whenever my thumb would hurt. Then numbness at the same time with pain, caused me to lose my grip a few times and drop my knife onto the table. Now, 3 hours after work, still getting the occasional sharp pains and it now includes the muscles in my forearm. Hand has mild swelling as well as wealened grip strength and my right arm from the elbow down feels cold and just fatigues constantly. Less sensation. When I touch things with my right hand compared to my left hand.

    • Hi Matthew. If you have recently sustained any trauma to the hand, this could be what is known as a repetitive stress injury. It often occurs as a consequence of occupational overuse of the hand and gives rise to conditions similar to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). You should see a doctor as soon as possible and may be even consult with a neurologist. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize the severity of symptoms and possibly prevent complications before it reaches the point of requiring surgery. Your doctor will advise you further.

  • penny

    I am a 41 year old woman. A few days ago while I was working I heard something in my left arm/elbow. I went to the Dr and they said it was not broke. Now it is hard to use my arm. I can’t straighten my arm out or bend it all the way. My fingers, hand,and my wrist is swollen. And when I try to use my arm I get this pain/burning feeling from my fingers all the way to my elbow and even sometimes even all the way to my shoulder and half of my neck. What can I do or should I be worried and go back to the Doctor?

    • Hi Penny. It is very rare for the arm to break without at least some trauma unless you have severe osteoporosis. What should be looked at instead is something like a torn tendon, ligament or possible even a muscle. There could also be some nerve injury and there is also the possibility that this sound emanated from the elbow joint. You should definitely follow up with your doctor to make him/her aware of your ongoing symptoms. You may need to undergo further tests and possible be referred to a neurologist or orthopedist.

  • Nancy

    I fractured my elbow and had surgery that included a prosthetic radial head and plates and screws for my ulna. It is 5 weeks post injury/surgery and I still have a large amount of swelling from my upper arm down to my fingers. I have numbness and tingling because it is so swollen. My doctor did an ultrasound to rule out a clot. I have tried elevation, ice, kenisio taping, manual lymphatic drainage and a compression sleeve and still the gross amount of swelling remains. What is causing it and what should I do?

    • Hi Nancy. This is major surgery and swelling can persist for quite a long period of time. A blood clot in one of the vessels and an infection obviously needs to be ruled out immediately. The first 6 weeks after any surgery is a delicate period during which the first stages of healing takes place and this continues for another 6 weeks thereafter. If you doctor says that there is nothing to worry about just yet then there may be nothing to be concerned with just yet. Don’t try anything unless your doctor says so and maintain close communication with him/her at all times.

  • Stephanie

    Hi, I am a 38 y o female & my left arm & hand swell & turn purple & red anytime I stand and walk or use my arm. Last August, I was in ICU for 6 days & after several nurses attempted to start an IV & failed, a PICC line was placed on my left upper arm. Ever since then I’ve been experiencing this, and my Cardiologist ordered an ultrasound of my left arm which came back normal. I walk with crutches bc of failed back surgery syndrome, & I lost function of my rt leg & foot after an RF procedure in 2011. We thought that maybe the crutches were causing this but I didnt experience this left arm issue before last August. I was just wondering if there was anything else I could do about this. Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    Hi I am a42 year old woman. The last two nights i have woke up to find my left hand swollen and hot… As soon as I raise it the liquid drains and the swelling goes down. Where is this fluid going? Is this dangerous?

  • Jo Nalls

    Hi, Ten years ago I had a pinched nerve in my neck and two of the discs were herniated. I had pain down my right arm and some numbness. It eventually got much better, not 100 perscent but I didnt have pain unless I lifted something too heavy or took a box off a shelf over my head. My arm was a little swollen but now it is very swollen. I dont have alot of pain, it’s just swollen. I had part of a kidney removed in March but my arm was swollen way before that. The tumor was very small and it was stage one. My arm has gotten alot worse over the last few months. I did not have Chemo or radiation. Can a pinched nerve make an arm swell?

  • aashka upadhyay

    hey,i m 45 yr old woman.one month ago i fell down on my hand,after that my forearm had swollen with lil pain.there is no redness on that.i went for x-ray but no fracture is found.swelling is unexplained by physicians.i can do my work by own but swelling is there after 1 month so im worried about it.

  • Mel Coblentz

    Hi. 3 days ago I had a lobectomey on my thyroid. Blood draw was the day before surgery, IV established in hand on day of surgery and bp cuff was extremely tight. Today I woke up with my right forearm swollen, it is going down with massage, but should I b concerned??

  • mohankrishna


    My Right hand is swelling every now and then . I got this problem in 2005 for the first time Later, i did not experience any problem for the next two years. Then again in 2007 my right hand swollen again. Then it started repeating for every two years. Recently , the frequency got increased This year february i have got the problem again and this is repeated with in a span of 6 months. I mean this october first week , I had this problem again. Now with in a week , it recurred . Currently my right hand is swollen

    I did not get hurt by anything or any injury. this swelling persists for 4 to 5 days and gets subsided. Due to this swelling , I am not able to carry out my regular routines comfortably. Reason being , I am not able to touch my little finger with thumb.

    I got this diagnosed and the doctor told me that this is substantial edema.

    But I am very much worried as this is recurring

    Symptoms :

    Some times , I feel like itching(not all the times during swelling) . As i read some posts , Some times i feel burning sensation.

    Both these symptoms are seen one or two times during a day. During night times , I feel bit itchy comparitively

    on my palm ,exactly below the thumb , there is a pale or brown colour spot . I am not sure when did i get this spot. This is the place where i feel itchy and even the swelling starts at this place and then spreads.

    Kindly assist me.

  • Maris

    My right arm hurts and my fingers are swollen. One of my fingers is been swollen for 3 days and it doesn’t go away.

    • Hi Maris. As you can see from the article above there are many possible causes for swelling. It could be an injury, allergy, infection, insect bite, clot in the arm and so on. Considering that it is persisting you should consult with your family doctor. Sometimes very serious conditions, like a blood clot, may present with swelling and if left untreated it can lead to complications.

  • Tiaha

    Where the arms bent; on my left arm; the muscle underneath it is swollen; and my fingers hurt when I bent them! Most especially when I lift! What could that be? I didn’t injure it especially when it gets cold; feels like a burning sensation as it warms up

    • Hi Tiaha. We do not provide a diagnosis on this platform but may be able to offer you some guidance. It seems like you are talking about your elbow (“where the arms bent”) and you also mention that your fingers hurt when bent. This could very well be strain, especially if you have been doing any repetitive movements recently. Arthritis is another possible cause. Compression of the nerve running down the arm may occur in the region of the elbow and this is known as cubital tunnel syndrome, not to be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. Of course there are other possibilities and the only way to know for sure is to see a doctor.

  • Tori

    I have this problem & it’s really worrying me. As of today it makes 11 days that my left thumb has been very badly infected in the cutical area. It started out as small infection from pulling hang nails & biting My nails. Well it started throbbing so bad during the nights I would almost cry. A big huge blister formed & I put neosporin on the blister & lightly put a band aid around it. The next day the blister had popped & infection poured out of it for about 4 days, I’ve wore a band aid around it about 7 days out of the 11. Now the last 3 days the skin where the blister was has turned into a hard big red u shape all around my thumb down to my knuckle . I have lost some feeling in it & as of right now my whole hand & arm has swelled up with awful pain all the way up to my shoulder. It looks like it’s deep down into my thumb & it doesn’t even look real. Like it looks like raw skin with old yellowish skin on it & my bones hurt as well. My right thumb tried to do the same thing but the cuticle is raised up with greenish brown & yellow stuff under it & my nails are trying to peel off. Also my right thumb has a red bump on it with the skin peeling backwards. I’m kinda scared I don’t know what this is can someone please help me & get back to me soon?!

  • Dawne

    Hi all, my 17 year old daughter’s left upper arm has been swollen for about 2 months now. I have taken her to her pediatrician and her endocrinologist (she has thyroid disease since she was 8) and both cannot give me any explanation. She went to the gym last night and now her arm is sore. The only swelling is the left arm. Anyone out there with any answers???

    • Kelvin

      I have this same problem after going to the gym two days ago can you help me? Were you able to solve your daughter’s?

  • Lal Fonseka

    My elbow area in the left get swollen once a month. Once it swollen, I find it difficult to move my hand. My both legs to are swollen. This has been there for a year. It was diagnosed that I am having non-alcoholic early cirrhosis. My hemoglobin level is 9 and platelet count is 80000. These problems there with me for a long time. I am under a medical treatment. In addition to the above problems, my arm swollen problem emerged. Is this a serious problem? Please advise me.

    • HI Lal. CIrrhosis is a serious condition and swelling is just one symptom. The swelling on one elbow may not be related to the cirrhosis and it is important to speak to your doctor to find out if there is any other possible cause of this elbow swelling.You should be consulting with a medical specialist about your cirrhosis, who can advise you accordingly.

  • nitin

    yesterday I fall while playing football . there is swelling on my forearm, but there is no pain. there is still swelling. what can be the probable cause of it?

  • Breanna Johnson

    I have had a heat rash last week. Then the next two days my arms and neck started to burn. Now my hand is swollen and is very painful and burning and sometimes itching. What is wrong what should I do?!!

    • Hi Breanna. Sometimes a heat rash can lead to a skin infection especially if you were scratching the area and caused breaks in the skin. This infection can cause a burning pain and itchiness. However, there may be other reasons for the arms symptoms. For example, a blood clot in an arm vein can lead to swelling and pain. As you can see from the article above there are several possible causes and you need to see a doctor who can diagnose the exact cause.

  • Merari

    My right arm went numb all the way down to my hand. My hand started to turn red cant make a closed fist then noticed it changed a little purple then went pail its been 20 min its still hurts and still numb

  • Marie Maronie

    I recently contracted poison oak and had a severe allergic reaction. Things were manageable and looked like it was starting to heal after about a week. However, I woke one morning to my arm being red, swollen and felt like it was on fire. The swelling is not isolated to just the area surrounding the rash. The entire forearm is swollen. The redness doesn’t wrap all the way around but does extend well beyond the rash area.

    I went to the ER and they said it wasn’t infected and wasn’t cellulitis. They put me on antibiotics and steroids anyway. But the swelling is almost as painful and itchy as the rash itself and has spread to my upper arm now. The swollen skin is very sensitive to the touch. Like pins and needles. The heat is unbearable at times as well. The only relief I get is from cold compresses for the heat and when I raise my arm above my head. The swelling, itching and pain all go away after a few seconds. But now my shoulder is starting to hurt from holding it up and my forearm muscles are sore. I also didn’t sleep at all last night because I kept having to get up every 20 minutes to put a new cold compress on it. Sleeping with my arm above my head does not seem to have the same affect laying down as it does when I’m sitting or standing.

    If it really isn’t infected (I had a nurse and PA tell me it wasn’t) then why did they put me on antibiotics and what would could be causing the swelling?