There are a number of conditions that could lead to stiff and swollen hands upon awakening in the morning. If you are experiencing this problem on a consistent basis, then you should certainly see a primary care physician
for further work-up and treatment.
Morning stiffness and pain that tends to last more than 30 minutes in the morning is usually indicative of some form of inflammatory process that is involving the joints. One such process is called rheumatoid arthritis
(RA). RA is a form of inflammatory joint disease that often presents as the slow development of morning stiffness. Classically RA affects the joints that connect the hand to the fingers (the knuckles), the finger joints that are closest to the hand, and the wrists. The morning stiffness and pain tend to last 30-60 minutes or longer, but symptoms tend to get better throughout the day. Usually the same joints are affected on both sides of the body.
Given the benefit of diagnosing and treating a number of joint problems early in their course, it is certainly advisable to visit your physician in the near future.