PT on the Net Research

Swollen Fingers, Red Hands


Several clients comment on their swollen fingers and red tingling hands especially after cardio workouts. These clients tend to be overweight. What does that mean?


Any tingling in a client’s hands is a good reason for a medical referral. A major sign or symptom of thoracic outlet syndrome is tingling down the arms and into the fingers. Have you done a posture screening? I am guessing they may have a quite pronounced forward head carriage. Some authors refer to this condition as upper crossed syndrome. Upper crossed syndrome can lead to a much worse condition called thoracic outlet syndrome. In either case, you should refer out if you don’t have much experience working with this type of clientele. As I think about the fact that you mentioned they get this sensation often times after cardio, it may just be a blood flow restriction.

While doing the cardio exercises are their hands above their hearts. Often times when a client has poor circulation the extremity body part will ‘fall asleep’ much like if you were to sleep with your arm pinned under you. The circulation is cut off to that area and it will turn red and feel rather tingly. Have you heard of the peripheral heart pump workout? This workout type is to increase circulation throughout the whole body. It entails doing an upper body exercise immediately followed by a lower body exercise. This essentially forces the blood to be pumped to the outer quadrants of the body with each set. Give it a try, if the symptoms persist, once again refer out to someone more apt to work with these conditions.