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Odd lumpy hands and feet

by Amina
(Tacoma, WA, USA)

It started with a small swell between my first two fingers on my left hand. Day two it spread to the web between forefinger and thumb. My veins stood an eighth of an inch above their base and were vividly blue. Day three small swell starts to spread between but not on my knuckles, and my right hand got the localized swelling. Day four left hand has swelling to--but again not on--the first knuckle on the fingers and the thumb is swelling. Right hand following behind left in the same way. Left foot gets the swelling. Four days later right foot gets the swelling, left hand has red discoloration on the palm and the veins no longer stand out. Both hands feel like they are on fire. I've been twice to my primary care physician and both times she said we should wait and see. The second time she didn't even bother to look at the hands. I've been surfing the internet til my surfboard is paper thin and I can find nothing (not even a picture) of this. Have you got any ideas?


Hi Amina,

I have no idea what is actually causing this problem and since I cannot examine you and ask you questions, my ability to come up with an actual diagnosis is even more difficult.

Having said that, a few possibilities come to mind.

The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility of an allergic reaction to something.

Are you are on new medication? Did this occur after you ate something that you do not normally eat? Have you been exposed to something in the environment, such as cleaning chemicals, weed killer, new perfume, some chemical at work, etc.?

These are questions you have to ask yourself and at least hopefully your primary care physician at
least questioned you about the possibility.

The other thing that comes to mind is some kind of vascular problem. Your feet and hands are at the end of your limbs and they are the parts of the body that are usually the result of some vascular compromise.

This includes the circulation going into your hands and feet as well as the circulation coming back to your heart from your hands and feet.

It would also include the lymphatic system which is the drainage system of the body that cleanses the tissues.

I know nothing about you including your age, overall health, medical conditions you may suffer from, and your general habits so I cannot be any more specific than this.

But, this would be the areas I would begin to investigate as possible causes. I suppose, if you are not in a lot of distress, then your primary care doctor's advice to wait and see would not be a terrible idea.

How long do you wait? If your symptoms do not continue to worsen but seem to stabilize, I suppose you could wait 10 days to two weeks. In that period of time I would hope that your symptoms slowly subside. If after that time period you are not substantially improved then in my opinion, this needs to be investigated.

If your symptoms continue to worsen during the next few days, then I think you need to act on it.

Do not be afraid to ask your primary care doctor if she is stumped or not. Sometimes, in fact many times, a certain doctor will just not know what is wrong. If this is the case, do not be afraid to ask her for a referral to a specialist who might be better prepared to figure out what is going on.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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