Swelling in the arms or hands often goes away on its own. See a GP if it does not get better in a few days.
Swelling in the arms and hands is often caused by a build-up of fluid in these areas, called oedema.
Oedema is usually caused by:
Oedema can also be caused by:
Symptoms of oedema include:
Swelling should go away on its own, but there are some things you can try to help.
lie down and use pillows to raise the swollen area when you can
move your whole arm and shoulder – try raising your hand above your head while you open and close your fist
massage your arm or hand towards your body using firm, but not painful, pressure – for example, start at your fingertips and massage towards your palm
get some gentle exercise, like walking, to improve your blood flow
drink plenty of water
wash, dry and moisturise your arms or hands to avoid infections
do not stay in the same position for long periods of time
do not wear clothes that are too tight
You could have a blood clot in your lungs, which needs immediate treatment in hospital.
Treatment for swelling or oedema that does not go away on its own will depend on the cause.