Why Your Fingers Expand and Shrink

The changes in the girth of your fingers may have certain factors associated with them. It could be anything from temperature variation to an underlying condition.

Meenakshi Chaudhary
Written by: Meenakshi ChaudharyUpdated at: May 20, 2015 12:49 IST
Why Your Fingers Expand and Shrink

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Did you ever wonder why sometimes your ring fits loosely on your finger and feels tight the other times.  If your guess is that changes in your weight has something to do with, then you are wrong. You aren't gaining or losing weight that fast. So what is it that makes your fingers swell and shrink? Here are some of the factors you should know about.


change in temperature


Changes in Temperature

One of the most common reasons behind your fingers swelling and shrinking is that your body reacts to temperature changes in the surroundings.  When you are in colder environment, your body tends to keep your core warm by constricting your blood vessels, which in turn reduces the flow of blood to the skin. The process is known as vasoconstriction. It is vital because your skin losses heat to the environment, so the body tries to reduce the blood flow to the fingers and toes causing your fingers and toes to shrink. This is why your ring becomes lose.

Same way, the opposite happens when you are in warm environment . The body tries to cool itself by releasing heat through the skin in the form of sweat. As the external temperature increases, the blood vessels become dilated to increase the blood flow and the excess heat is released into the environment. This process is called vasodilation and it causes your fingers and toes to expand. This is why your ring suddenly becomes a lot tighter during summer. However, there can be other causes for this phenomenon.  





If you experience swelling every morning, it could be a sign of arthritis. Do get yourself tested for risk of arthritis. It is common for people with arthritis to experience inflammation in the fingers.



Your hands may swell during exercise as physical labour causes your muscles to generate heat and your blood vessels expand in order to dissipate that excess heat.

Water retention:

Consumption of salt or sodium in excess amount causes retention of water. This could make you feel bloated and puffy. Restricting the sodium intake will help reduce the puffiness and will boost your heart health. The fluid build-up in the feet, ankles, face and hands is known as edema. Other factors that could cause edema include medications, congestive heart failure and liver or kidney diseases.






During the time of pregnancy, there is about 50 percent more blood and other fluids to help baby grow.  About 25 percent of the weight that you gain during pregnancy is just water weight. The fluids fill up the tissues of the hands, feet and ankles making your joints, tissues soft. This help you prepare your body for delivery.


Carpal tunnel syndrome:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, weakness, and other problems in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Activities like typing can causes repetitive strain injury in the fingers, arms and elbows or can cause swelling in these parts.



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