The knuckles are involved in various important functions such as gripping objects, finger movements, and closing of the fist. When swelling of the knuckles occurs, the joints become red, inflamed, swollen, painful and stiff. Extremely swollen knuckles can lead to partial or absolute loss of functionality of the hands.
The knuckle joints may swell and get inflamed due to a host of reasons; resulting in stiffness, reduced mobility, discomfort and pain.
What Causes A Swollen Knuckle Joint?
Commonly seen causes of swollen knuckles are:
- Trauma: A knuckle joint is very flexible and is vulnerable to various forms of injury. If the joint gets hit by a hard object, then small bones may suffer a fracture or get dislocated. Ligament strains may occur too. All this results in swelling.
- Osteoarthritis: The soft tissues of the cartilage wear out. Consequently, the attached bones rub against each other and swelling and inflammation occurs.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is an autoimmune disease that is set off by an anomalous functioning of the immune mechanism. The antibodies synthesized by the immune system attack the healthy tissues of the knuckle joints.
- Gout: When the level of uric acid in the blood rises, it is known as gout; this triggers swelling of various joints, including the knuckles. The surplus uric acid forms crystals and gets deposited in the knuckles. These crystals irritate the surrounding tissues and the knuckles swell.
- Fluid Retention: Is characterized by fluid a build-up in the tissues of the knuckles. Knuckle swelling because of fluid retention is a sign that the lymphatic system is malfunctioning.
Symptoms Of Swollen Knuckles
- The knuckles will be swollen and inflamed.
- There may be redness.
- The skin on the knuckles may be warm.
- Associated stiffness and pain may be present.
Natural Remedies For Swollen Knuckles
The treatment for swelling of the knuckles is based on the underlying cause.
- Trauma related swelling of the knuckles is managed by resting the hand. All activities which cause discomfort and pain must be stopped so that the injury can heal quickly. Ice application allays swelling and pain significantly. A dislocation or a fracture of the knuckle joint needs support provided by a splint.
- Soaking the hands in warm water to which some salt has been added will proffer a lot of relief from arthritic pain.
- Another effectual home remedy for swelling of the knuckles is ginger tea. Boil an inch of ginger in a bowl of water and consume daily. You may add some honey to it as well. Ginger is packed with a compound called gingerols which battle inflammation and swelling successfully.
- Gentle massage is recommended too. You could do it at home using warm sesame seed oil or opt for sessions with a certified masseur.
- Physical therapy is advocated to improve your joint mobility and flexibility.
- Gout needs to be managed by administering medication to reduce the level of uric acid in the blood. Also, you must follow a gout diet and steer clear of all foods which raise serum uric acid level.
- In case of fluid retention, the primary cause needs to be established and suitable treatment must be started. By and large, all you need to do is increase your daily fluid intake and decrease your sodium intake.