Swollen Hands While Hiking, Trails and Paddles

On a few occasions, I’ve noticed something strange. Halfway through a hike, my hands become swollen, so much so that I struggle to remove rings and my skin feels tight. I noticed this came up quite a bit in searches so I thought it would be beneficial to share some possible reasons for this condition. NOTE: If the swelling is painful and doesn’t go away, that is not normal and you should consult a medical professional.

Blood Flow

It can be a response to your body distributing blood to muscles and organs that are being heavily used. It will rush blood to your heart and lungs and likely your leg muscles which are worked hard while you hike. Remember to stay hydrated and stop to rest and stretch along the way to help with this.

Hand Placement

While hiking your hands are normally at your side, which may cause blood to pool in your hands. Try raising them up if swelling begins or use poles while you hike if this is something that happens quite frequently.

Salty Snacks

Eating salty snacks before or during a hike can cause you to retain water and swell up. I noticed I started to swell after I ate some delicious salt and vinegar chips while hiking. Opt for low-sodium snacks like nuts instead.

That Time of the Month

Women may be more prone to swelling while they are on their period. So keep this in mind when you are scheduling hikes, and bring poles and low sodium snacks to keep yourself comfortable.

If you have any suggestions to add, feel free to comment below!

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