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Sudden swelling of middle finger on left hand

Resolved Question:

The middle finger on my left hand all of a sudden became swollen and hard from tip to the joint (normal from joint to hand). What could be the cause?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  susanivy replied 6 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer.

In order to help you better I'd like to get a few more details about your swollen finger tip.

Did you wake up with it swollen like this, or did it happen in the middle of the day?

What activities had you been doing before this happened?

Had you been out in the cold or touched anything colder or hotter than normal?

You have likely done this, but if not - inspect your finger to see if there is any area of broken skin or other mark.

Is the finger also painful or aching? If so, how painful is it on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced or imagined?

Is there any discoloration - for example, is the finger pinker, bluer or paler in comparison to the rest of the hand or other hand?

Do you have any health conditions?

I'll look for your reply.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Did not wake up with this. I was in the bathroom doing personal hygiene and also cleaning toilet and tub. No hot or cold. no broken skin or pain. no discoloration. came on very quickly on this finger only. Health conditions. remission bladder 5 years, take nexium and buproprion for a long time. Had a small clot in rt leg below knee after fall 5 months ago. no reoccurances
Expert:  susanivy replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the additional info.

Also, - is the swelling of a pitting nature? This means, for example, if you press on a small area of the swelling, does an indentation remain for a few seconds?

Also, after having the clot in your leg - have you been placed on any type of anticoagulant, even aspirin? (or do you only take nexium and buproprion?)

And, just to double check, is there more tenderness on this finger if you move the joint or apply light pressure in comparison to your other fingers?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no pitting - seems to come back immediately. I do take baby aspirin every day
Expert:  susanivy replied 6 years ago.

It is likely that this is angioedema. Angioedema is a type of swelling similar to hives but the swelling is beneath the skin rather on the surface. It is often due to an allergic reaction. Angioedema can occur due to numerous causes, even stress and anxiety, but I would wonder in your case if it could possibly due to the cleaning fluid?

With angioedema, like other allergic reactions, histamine and other chemicals are released into the bloodstream and this causes the swelling. The body releases histamine when the immune system detects a foreign substance called an allergen. Again, many times the cause of angioedema is never found, although it likely is due to a chemical, medication, animal dander, foods, insect bites, and pollen.

Treatment for angioedema is antihistamines. Benadryl or dipenhydramine (tends to make one drowsy) or Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin) or Cetirizine (Zyrtec).

You will want to make note if this begins to spread, and especially although this is unlikely - if you started to note signs of a more severe allergic reaction - such as wheezing or swelling of the lips - then you should seek emergency care (call 911 if any airway issues such as wheezing or lip, mouth or throat swelling as an injection of epinephrine might be needed)

Another concern, especially since you have a history of thrombophlebitis (clot in leg) is a tiny clot. Typically though, you would have tenderness, pitting edema (an indentation after pressing an area of the swelling) if this was the cause. Since you don't report these signs, it seems unlikely.

I hope this helps.

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