ZocdocAnswersWhy are my finger and toes swollen?

Question

Why are my finger and toes swollen?

My right index finger has been swollen for about 5 or 6 days, it bothers me a little more after I wake up, it hurts a little when I move it and a little more if I touch with pressure right in the middle joint. I also noticed first that my right big toe has like a bulge on the side that feels kinda numb but bothers me or hurts a little when I touch it or have shoes on or when I am standing up for a long time, I noticed that also about 5 days ago and a couple of days ago I noticed that same thing on 2 other toes of my left foot. Yesterday night I tried soaking them in hot water with Epsom salt but they did not get better. Wondering if I should try ice. I don't remember hurting my finger or toes or being bitten by any animal so I don't understand what this could be and I'm worried.

Answer

Sorry to hear about this problem. There are many things that it could be, but we need more information to know for sure, which is why it is important for you to speak with your doctor. Most people will have some mild swelling when they retain water. Water retention can happen due to too much salt intake, or due to a problem with filtering the water which can also be caused by heart problems. This swelling will usually be spread throughout the whole body rather than just a few digits, and so it is interesting that you describe a more localized but changing pattern of swelling. This could therefore represent trauma, as you suggest, or even local allergies to different jewelry or other things in the environment. Also, there are some kinds of arthritis that can affect different joints at different times. There may be some swelling, redness, and warmth if that is the case, but not always. Finally, gout is another potential explanation, although I would expect that you would be describing pain as well if gout were the cause of the symptoms that you are describing. Please speak with your doctor about this problem to determine which of the above explanations is the most likely for you, and get the help you need.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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