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Swelling hands

September 10th, 2010

When hiking Half Dome a few years ago, my wife, Sarah, experienced “sausage fingers,”  each of them much fatter and larger than normal.   Maybe some of you have experienced this on the trail.  What’s going on here?

After some research it’s likely she experienced peripheral edema, a swelling caused by lymph fluid pooling in the hands, feet, or face. It’s common among backpackers, often the result of too-tight shoulder straps or standing for long durations. The symptoms typically disappear within hours after a hike. Adjusting her pack to place more weight on the hipbelt, and using trekking poles for better hand circulation could have helped in that situation.

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