Why Do Fingers Swell When Walking? (Read This First)

Why Do Fingers Swell When Walking

Have you ever experienced swollen fingers when walking? Of course, it can be scary as it keeps you wondering about the connection between swollen fingers and waking.

Many people also experience the same. You’re not alone, so worry no more, as several conditions can result in swelling fingers during walks.

Scientists have not been able to prove the cause of the swelling of fingers when walking. However, if you’re experiencing swollen fingers when walking, one of these reasons is most likely to be the cause; restriction of blood circulation, extreme heat, excessive water intake, and hyponatremia.  

Is it Normal for Fingers to Swell When Walking?

Why Do Fingers Swell When Walking

Well, it depends on what the exact cause is. But generally, it’s normal for your fingers to swell while walking if you don’t position your hands well, especially when you’re running or during a long walk.

It’s even a sign that your body system is working efficiently. For example, those that experience the swelling of fingers while walking most are athletes. 

Below are some of the reasons why your fingers swell while walking;

  • Reduction in blood circulation
  • Extreme heat
  • Excessive intake of water 
  • Hyponatremia

#1. Reduction in Blood Circulation 

When you’re walking or running, especially if it’s a long one, your body increases the oxygen demand. 

As a result, your heart starts to beat faster, which leads to an increase in blood flow as well. 

However, the blood flow won’t circulate in your body, especially the extremities, such as your fingers and toes.

These parts of your body will suffer from the reduction in blood flow.

The blood will only flow adequately to the organs with the highest oxygen demand, such as your heart, lungs, the muscles you’re working, and the like.

Unfortunately, the reduction in blood flow makes your extremities colder, especially your hands.

Therefore, this causes the blood vessels in your hands to react to the deprivation of adequate blood flow by opening more expansively, leading to swollen fingers.

Thus, if the lack of adequate blood flow to your hands is what causes your fingers to swell while walking, it’s normal, and it’s something you can prevent by following some crucial precautions.

#2. Extreme Heat

Having a long walk in hot weather isn’t advisable as it can also cause your fingers to swell.

If you’re walking when there’s severe heat, your body generates a lot of heat, and this causes you to sweat a lot.

Consequently, to cool down, the blood vessels closer to your skin open wider to enable the heat inside your body to evacuate, leaving the extremities behind.

Hence, it causes your fingers to swell. So, if extreme heat leads to your swollen fingers, it’s also normal and something you can avoid.

#3. Excessive Intake of Water

Drinking too many fluids, such as water or sports drinks, while having a long walk can result in a fluid imbalance in your body.

This imbalance can cause fluid to build up in your arm, which is another reason your fingers swell. 

So, if excessive water intake while walking is the cause of your swollen fingers, it’s also expected, and you can prevent it from happening.

#4. Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia is a condition with a low sodium concentration in your blood. Meanwhile, hyponatremia happens when there’s too much water in your body.

The excessive water you take while walking dilutes the sodium in your body and causes your blood to water down. 

Sadly, the symptom of hyponatremia isn’t limited to swollen fingers. Other symptoms of hyponatremia are headache, nausea, muscle cramp, fatigue, etc.

If the cause of your swollen fingers while walking is hyponatremia, kindly contact your physician immediately.

How Do I Stop My Fingers from Swelling When I Walk?

Swelling fingers while walking isn’t something you should worry too much about because it’s easy to control. 

Therefore, below are some ways to stop your fingers from swelling when walking:

  • Firstly, ensure you don’t wear a dress that tightens your arms or wrists while having a long walk, as tight dresses can restrict the adequate circulation of blood flow into your arms.
  • Secondly, a tight watch band or ring can restrict blood flow, resulting in swollen fingers. Kindly ensure that your rings and watch bands are loosened enough, as they can cause discomfort. 
  • Furthermore, move your fingers and make fists with them frequently while walking.
  • Also, avoid drinking a lot of fluids while walking. Instead, make sure you balance your fluid intake.
  • Take hot water along with you while walking. Hot water intake enables your blood to flow correctly.
  • In addition, avoid having a long walk in severely hot weather. But instead, have your walk when the weather is cool.
  • More so, perform forward and backward arm cycles while having a long walk.
  • Also, massage your arms and fingers from time to time.
  • Meanwhile, rest is also essential. Give yourself a regular break if you are taking a long walk.
  • And lastly, wear compression gloves while walking. Compression gloves help regulate your body’s blood circulation and reduce swollen fingers.

Do Fingers Swell in High Altitude?

Yes, fingers do swell in high altitudes. High altitude is an extreme type of training that’s common among athletes, whereby they train themselves for numerous weeks or months at around 8,000 feet above sea level.

Athletes undergo high-altitude training to improve their performance, especially when preparing for competitions. 

Also, the training helps to increase their fitness, muscular endurance, heart health, and even overall health.

So, most high-altitude training, such as mountain hikes, swimming, mountain biking, football playing, running, cycling, and so on, results in swelling in hands, fingers, and even feet. 

The reason is that as the elevation increases during your training, your heart starts to beat faster, you will become exposed to breathing thinner air, and your demand for oxygen increases. 

Meanwhile, an increase in oxygen demand can cause you to lose water, resulting in dehydration. 

Dehydration makes your body, especially the extremities, i.e., your hands and toes, colder. 

Hence, changes within your blood vessels can eventually cause your fingers and, sometimes, your toes to swell.

Now, you may be wondering if training at high altitude is good; check out the table below to learn more about the pros and cons of high altitude.

Pros of High AltitudeCons of High Altitude 
It improves heart functionality.It causes insufficient blood flow 
High altitude improves endurance and performance.It can result in altitude sickness, such as nausea, weakness, dizziness, headache, loss of balance, etc.
It enhances muscle performanceIt affects the immune system
It increases red blood cells production It causes an unnecessary increase in red blood cells production 
The result of high altitude stays longer High altitude training causes dehydration

What to Do with Your Hands When Walking 

Walking may seem simple, but it requires you to be conscious as too much of it can lead to unwanted conditions, especially if you refuse to follow essential precautions.

Many people complain about their hands swelling when walking, which commonly happens among athletes, especially women. Your hands should also be busy as you’re walking.

Therefore, below are the things you need to do with your hands when walking: 

  • Swing your hands frequently. Perform forward and backward arm cycles as you’re walking.
  • Another thing you can do with your hands while walking is to put them inside your pockets.
  • In addition, you can carry a walking stick or hiking pole along; this is most effective when hiking.
  • Stretch your fingers and make a fist with your hands often.


Your fingers swell while walking for the following reasons: excessive water intake, walking in hot weather, blood circulation restrictions, etc.

Meanwhile, it’s something you can prevent from happening. Therefore, do well to follow the precautions mentioned in this article to avoid your fingers from swelling while walking.

Josh Matthews

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