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Fingers became very swollen, numb - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: General Health
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1743 Questions
User :   I have today returned from a holiday. Whilst away my fingers became very swollen and at night time they became numb. Although the numbness wore off quickly my fingers were still swollen and tight. I was unable to get rings off and on. I am assuming that all this is due to altitude (?) but would like to know if I can prevent this problem from happening again in the future?
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   I am
Doctor :   How can I heklp you ?
User :   I have today returned from a skiing holiday. Whilst away my fingers became very swollen and at night time they became numb. Although the numbness wore off quickly my gingers wer still swollen and tight. I was unable to get my rings off and on. I am assuming that all this is due to altitude (?) but would like to know if I can prevent this problem for happening again in the future?
Doctor :   Do you have pain also in the fingers along with swelling?
User :   Not exactly pain, just stiffness.
Doctor :   Ok the way of preventing this in future is by
Doctor :   1) Protective clothing
Doctor :   Actually the clothing should have an inner wicking layer, a middle insulating layer and an outer wind- and water-resistant layer for both your upper and lower body.
Doctor :   gloves or mittens
Doctor :   thick fleece socks.
User :   I do wear protective clothing - at vast expense!
Doctor :   2) Make sure you have clothing that will not lose its insulating properties when wet
Doctor :   3) Have as much fluids as possible. Dehydration is a predisposing condition for frostbite and hypothermia.
Doctor :   4) Eat plenty of carbohydrates
Doctor :   which are easily digestible
Doctor :   It helps your metabolism to turn into heat.
Doctor :   5) Stop and warm your feet or hands if they start to feel numb
Doctor :   Your current symptom can be warning sign for frost bite
User :   I have been skiing many many times and I do do all the things that you suggest and although in the past my eyes have been quite puffy but never had this problem with my hands. Particularly the last week we have had beautiful warm and sunny weather and have not been wet. In fact most of the time I have been too warm in all my gear!
Doctor :   Ok avoid alcohol
Doctor :   which is prime factor for dehydration
User :   Completely!!
Doctor :   Since it is cold, most of them prefer to have alcohol
Doctor :   Not completely during those days
User :   Now that I am home how long will it take for the swelling to go down?
Doctor :   I would like to say that your current symptoms is mostly because of dehydration and the blood circulation to the area is slightly less
Doctor :   It should restore in next 24 to 48 hours
Doctor :   if you give enough warmth to those area
User :   Presumably if it doesn't then I need to go to my GP in case something else is wrong with me?
Doctor :   I hope it is not turned blue or black?
User :   Absolutely not.
Doctor :   Ok, you are still safe and yes you need to see GP if something goes wrong
User :   Now that I'm home should I drink lots and lots?
Doctor :   Yes
User :   ok. Unless you can think of anything else to help me then thank you. Oh, could it be due to water retention and if so should I maybe go to the health shop and get something to help?
Doctor :   You can put it in the warm water bucket
Doctor :   and immediately dry
Doctor :   You should make your extremties as warm as possible with gloves and stuff
User :   I hear what you are saying but have to repeat that my hands have never been cold?
Doctor :   It does not have to be cold, it is just swollen and tightness
Doctor :   that I mean about the measures that I just explained you
Doctor :   *swelling
User :   OK. Thanks very much doctor. Bye
Doctor :   What I mean to say is, the suppleness is gotten back with ample supply of blood to your fingers
Doctor :   which in turn by warmth
Doctor :   Hope I am understandable
Doctor :   Thank you
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