Dr. Google

As we neared the completion of our walk yesterday, I noticed my hands and fingers were feeling very tight. Further inspection revealed that they were swollen and turning red. I didn’t think it was my blood pressure since I felt alright, but it had never happened before and worried me a bit.

After getting home and consulting with the ultimate health care provider, Google, I soon discovered that this is normal for many people. Apparently the centrifugal force that results from swinging your arms coupled with an electrolyte imbalance causes the swelling. Thankfully, there have been no serious health complications linked to this problem.

About.com suggests the following for combating swollen hands while walking:

  • Remove your rings prior to a walk. Loosen your wristwatch strap and elastic sleeves.
  • Carry a walking stick and switch hands while you walk.
  • Carry a small object to grip lightly from time to time as you walk: a small foam pad, rubber ball, map, or flashlight.
  • Do an occasional arm circle.
  • Don’t clench your hands, keep them relaxed and slightly open. Every so often, stretch all of your fingers out for a few seconds and then make a fist. Repeat this several times. Or sort of “play the piano or accordion,” with your fingers only.
  • Racewalking coach Bonnie Stein of Acewalker.com recommends using correct arm motion with your arm bent at almost a 90 degree angle and swinging back and forth from a relaxed shoulder, rather than opening and closing the arm at the elbow.
  • Play stick-em-up: rest your hands on top of your head for a few seconds to get them above the level of your heart.
  • Whenever you are sweating, take care in balancing your water and salt intake.

It is also recommended that you weigh yourself before and after a walk to make sure that you are getting enough liquids. Your weight should remain the same.


Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

15 thoughts on “Dr. Google”

  1. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, I very deliberately stayed away from the internet–I knew that using Google would only mess with my already very vulnerable mind. Some were shocked at my decision but I knew it was the right one for me.

    That said, just today I Googled about studies related to MRIs and screening for breast cancer because I doubted the counsel of one of my docs. What I found online convinced me that his advice could be trusted.

  2. @Karen – While it should never take the place of a real doctor, it is an invaluable supplement to health care.

    Last November, when my grandmother developed a painful rash, I turned to the internet for examples of shingles. Sure enough, that’s what the doctor in the emergency room said she had.

    I also used it to “diagnose” my appendicitis. I knew something wasn’t right and when my symptoms matched those I found online and didn’t eventually subside, I went to the ER.

    On the flipside, I also realize I could easily become a hypochondriac if I spent alot of time surfing medical sites. ;)

  3. I’ve been thinking about researching skin grafting, with what is going on with my stepson, but I’m afraid of what I’ll find, and haven’t gotten up the courage to do it yet.

  4. It is a whole new medical world, with google out there. We were just talking about that in class today…patients have a whole different understanding of their medications.

    Brian, DRINK WATER! :)

  5. Brian,

    Nurse Caroline gives good advice. Also, according to “Dr. Google”…

    “The old adage of 8 glasses a day is no longer true. Instead, think about how much you weigh and divide that number in half. That’s how many ounces of water you should drink per day. For instance, a person who is 180 pounds, should drink 90 oz. of water per day to be adequately hydrated. (That’s 11 glasses of water!) Also, you should drink about 8 oz. every 15 minutes while exercising. If you drink smaller amounts (say 4 oz. at a time), you’ll keep from getting that uncomfortable sloshing feeling, which often occurs when we get too thirsty and drink too much water at a time.”



  6. Brian,
    Remember a couple of yrs back when we went to the “Community Walk, Run, Ride or Roll- 3 miles” and at the end of it my hands were REALLY swollen and red. I thought it was my blood pressure, which is why you probably thought that. I am sure it was probably because I was dehydrated! Wish I had known that then. LOL

  7. @Caroline – Good advice!

    @JimT – That’s alot of water. Anything is better than what I’m doing now. SunDrop is about the only fluid intake that I have. 8-)

    @stilldreaming – I remember! I’ll have to start taking water with me when I walk. It was really hot the day this happened and we were walking very fast and sweating quite a bit.

  8. I find that I will almost NEVER drink water unless it’s flavored. So I bought those little Crystal Light To Go packets and I end up drinking 1-2 nalgenes a day. It’s artifically sweetened and some people have issues with that (I’m aware of the problems…) but I say it’s better than drinking nothing at all, which is my alternative. Also, my alternative to nasty horse-pill, vomit-inducing one a day vitamins is the gummy vitamins! Again, not as good as a One-a-day, but better than nothing, which is what happens when you take medicine that makes you want to puke! :)

  9. “Crystal Light To Go” is good stuff!
    I just found their “Lightly Lemon” Hydration flavor– a no calorie alternative to Gatorade (tastes a lot better, too) that replaces your electrolytes.


  10. When My granddaughter was dehydrated after a soccer game, she told me gatorade makes her want to throw up. Emer-gen-C is a marvelous replacement without the artificial sweetners . It also gives you 1,000 Vit C. I love it

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