How to Get A Ring Off A Swollen Finger

How To Get A Ring Off A Swollen Finger

A stuck ring on your finger can be frustrating and even worrying when it simply won’t budge.

However, hope is not lost; there are a few ways you can try to get a ring off a swollen finger safely before having to make the dreaded trip to the ER.

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to learn about removing a ring from a swollen finger, including why it might be stuck, how to prevent your ring from getting stuck, when it’s time to get medical help, and tips for removing the ring.

Why Do Rings Get Stuck?

It might be surprising to know that a stuck ring happens more often than you might think. This is why there are plenty of methods for you to try when removing your ring from a swollen finger.

Firstly, the problem might be as simple as the ring being too small for your finger, which can cause discomfort and make your finger swell up.

It might also be because of temperature changes; changes in temperature can cause your finger to swell and your ring to contract.

Furthermore, a ring can get stuck if you haven’t removed it for many years. A wedding or engagement ring is meant to be worn all the time, so it’s completely plausible that the ring has been on your finger for a while.

While the ring doesn’t change, your body does over the years; you might gain weight, develop arthritis, or your diet might change. These are all completely natural changes, but they can cause your ring to become stuck.

Finally, swelling of the soft tissue in the hand or fingers is frequently a side effect of severe injuries such as fractures or any damage to the arm or hand. If a ring is not taken off in this circumstance, it can become a tourniquet.

Serious adverse effects may follow from this, such as a loss of feeling and blood flow, as well as possible tendon damage that may necessitate amputating the affected finger.

It is best to have a medical professional evaluate your situation before using these techniques if the finger is swollen due to a finger injury.

Tips For Removing A Ring From A Swollen Finger

You might want to seek medical attention if your ring is stuck on your finger; however, there are some simple tricks you can try before doing so if you want to save yourself the trouble of visiting the emergency room.

Ice Your Finger

You can first try to reduce the swelling by icing your finger. Using ice helps constrict the blood vessels in the finger, and this reduced blood flow can decrease the size of your finger back down to its normal size.

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To do this, place ice around your finger and the ring, keeping your hand elevated for five to ten minutes. This technique may decrease the swelling enough to safely remove the ring with ease.

Use Lubricant

You could also try lubricating the ring to remove it from your finger. By lubricating the ring itself, you can reduce the surface tension between the ring and your skin, making the ring easier to slide off your finger. 

Soap, oil, hand cream, and petroleum jelly work well as lubricants, but too much might make it harder to actually get a grip on the ring to maneuver it off your finger.

Surprisingly, you can also try using Windex! This is a great lubricant because it won’t gum up your ring like the other lubricants listed.

Keep Your Hand Raised

This is probably the easiest way to try to remove your ring from your swollen finger. Keeping your hand raised above your head might reduce the swelling enough to remove the ring from your finger.

Elevating your hand allows the blood and fluid to drain from your fingers. After about 10 minutes, the swelling should go down. Icing your finger before doing this should help the swelling even more and could be enough to take the ring off.

Twist The Ring

This isn’t as simple as twisting and yanking the ring off your finger. For this technique, you should slowly twist the ring while trying to pull your skin from above the ring and then below it.

This might be difficult to do alone, so it’s best to ask your friend or partner to help you twist the ring off. With a little patience, you might be able to remove the ring.

Press And Push

Try pressing the swollen finger from the underside while simultaneously pushing the ring upwards if twisting the ring doesn’t work for you.

Push the ring from the top side of the finger as it approaches the knuckle.

Try A Surgical Glove

Using a surgical glove is also an effective way to remove a ring that you can’t get off your finger. The good thing about this technique is that it can usually be used on an injured finger, but you have to be sure to take extra care.

You can try to remove the ring with a surgical glove by cutting a cylindrical finger part of the glove and insert your finger.

Then, using tweezers, you can insert the cut part of the glove in between where the ring meets the finger and turn it inside out while softly pulling outward.

Use Plastic Wrap

Using plastic wrap to remove your ring from your finger is another technique that you can try. It’s similar to the surgical glove method, but might be easier for you to try as you’re much more likely to have plastic wrap readily available.

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Wrap the plastic around the finger in the same manner as with the surgical glove technique, then tuck about half of it beneath the ring.

Once the plastic wrap is lubricated, slowly twist and slide your ring outward.

Use Dental Floss

How to Get A Ring Off A Swollen Finger

This method works well, but it is a little complicated. Here’s how to use dental floss, or something similar, to remove a ring from your swollen finger:

  1. With the bulk of the material toward the fingertip, slide the thread, floss, or thin elastic cording beneath the trapped ring. To loop the floss or string under the ring, use a needle and thread. You can also slide a thin piece of elastic beneath the ring using thin tweezers.
  2. Wrap the thread around the finger tightly several times to compress it, starting at the top of the ring. This should be done all the way up to and above the knuckle.
  3. Pulling towards the fingertip, start unwrapping the thread or floss by the end that was under where the ring is. As it continues to unwind, this will allow the ring to simply slide over the knuckle.

When trying this technique, be sure not to leave the thread wrapped around the finger for too long. Doing so will cut off the blood supply to the rest of your finger.

Get The Ring Cut

If none of these methods work for you and the ring is still firmly stuck on your finger, you can visit your local fire department and have them cut the ring off your finger.

Most of the time, your fire department should have a tool to cut the ring off, but make sure you call ahead to avoid a wasted trip. 

You can also visit your local jeweler to get the ring cut off, and they should be able to save it too. They will be able to fix the ring so it’s as good as new, and they will be able to resize it for you if you wish.

If you choose to get it resized, the ring is less likely to get stuck on your finger again.

How To Prevent A Ring From Getting Stuck

Your ring could become too tight for your fingers during pregnancy due to weight gain and swelling. The fingers can also swell due to arthritis, atopic dermatitis, kidney disease, and some medications.

Consider taking action to avoid your rings getting stuck if you have a chronic disease that is altering your finger size. You might think about switching out your rings or hanging them from a necklace chain.

Additionally, jewelers can enlarge rings or replace the band with an adjustable shank that opens, allowing you to wrap the ring around a problematic knuckle, for example.

It’s also a good idea to take the ring off from time to time, like when you wash dishes or before bed. This will make it easier for you to recognize that your ring isn’t fitting properly.

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When To Go To The Emergency Room?

Whichever method you choose when trying to remove your ring, you should never force it. If it doesn’t come off with minimal effort when trying these techniques, then it’s time to visit the ER.

While getting the ring cut off at your local fire department is fine, they won’t be able to help if you’re experiencing the following problems:

Mottling

Purple or reddish blotches or spots on the skin of your swollen finger may be a sign of poor blood flow to the finger.

You shouldn’t waste your time attempting to remove the ring by yourself if you notice mottling on your finger.

Bluish-Gray Color

A finger that is grayish blue or purple suggests that your ring has impaired the blood flow.

As soon as you see that your swollen finger is turning blue or starting to feel numb, head straight to the hospital for an emergency ring removal.

Broken Finger

There is a possibility that you have a broken finger if you have a swollen finger as a result of physical trauma. In these circumstances, you generally feel intense, stabbing pain followed by sluggish finger swelling.

If that is the case, you should go to the ER as soon as you can and refrain from using any of the suggested methods to take the ring off your swollen finger.

Bad Capillary Refill

The capillary refill test is performed to keep track of how much blood is getting to the tissue. Hold the hand containing the swollen finger higher than the level of the heart to do this test, and press the tip of the fingernail until it turns white.

Watch how long it takes for the color to appear again. The capillary refill time is typically around 2 seconds, so if the color doesn’t return right away, you should seek medical attention.

The stuck ring can cut off the blood supply to your finger, so if you are experiencing any of these issues, then you should visit the emergency room.

They can provide medical attention and will be able to save your finger if it’s a severe problem and you visit the ER within enough time.

Final Thoughts

A stuck ring on a swollen finger can cause you to panic, but it’s important to remember that there are techniques you can use to get the ring off safely.

In mild circumstances, these methods work well, but in severe cases, your best option is to visit the ER and get the right medical attention to prevent further injury.