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Swelling Hands

My wife's hands swell when she hikes. Is she in danger?

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Question:

My wife’s hands swell when she hikes. Is she in danger?

Submitted by – S.H., Manchester, MO

Answer:

Chances are good she won’t explode. She’s likely experiencing peripheral edema, a swelling caused by lymph fluid pooling in the hands, feet, or face. It’s common among backpackers, often the result of too-tight shoulder straps or standing for long durations. The symptoms typically disappear within hours after a hike. Adjust her pack to place more weight on the hipbelt, and try trekking poles for better hand circulation.