Over the years, your hands change due to factors such as aging, pregnancy, and injuries. Fingers can become swollen versions of what they once were, and conditions like arthritis only make those symptoms worse. No matter the reasons why your fingers are just not the size they used to be, you may be finding it difficult to remove a ring that once fit comfortably. In this blog, we’ll explore different ways of removing a ring from a swollen finger.
So, what do you do if you need to remove a ring? There are a few different things you can try.
The Basic Method
This method will work in some cases if the finger is not severely swollen and before it’s turned purple or discolored. Here are the steps to this method:
- Raise your hand above your head and keep it raised for several minutes. This will allow the blood to drain from your hand and allow for some swelling to decrease.
- Apply ice to the finger while keeping the hand raised. You can use indirect ice (ice wrapped in a towel) for 20 minutes or direct ice for 10 minutes.
- Use a lubricant on the finger to make the ring more slippery on the skin. Two of the best options are Windex and mineral oil. Soap can work if you have nothing else, but keep in mind that it can dry out or irritate the skin making things more difficult.
- Slowly work the ring upwards and over the knuckle. Do not irritate the skin or pull too hard. If you work on the ring and are too rough, your finger will swell even more and the problem will become much more difficult.
- Continue icing the finger off and on while you try to remove it from your finger. Do not leave direct ice on your finger for too long.
If you’re lucky, may not even have to follow through with all of these steps, and you may discover that elevation, icing, or using a lubricant respectively will be enough to let you slide the ring off your finger safely. If these methods do not work, though, then you can try the dental floss trick.
The Dental Floss Method
You will need a large amount of dental floss to do this. Start by threading it under the ring so you have a “pull” handle of floss facing the wrist. The rest of the floss will be facing your fingers.
Begin wrapping the floss tightly around your finger close to the ring itself. Wrap the floss over and over all the way to the joint or over the joint if the joint itself the problem. Make sure to wrap tightly so that you compress the tissue of your finger.
Now, tightly grab the end of the floss that is dangling on the other side of the ring. You will now want to start unwrapping the floss. As you do, it will force the ring downwards, sliding with the floss. This should allow the ring to slide over the joint and hopefully set you free.
If you don’t have dental floss, other things you can use are thin string or a rubber band. You will just need to use the same method of wrapping and then unwrapping.
If none of these methods work, then it may be time to have the ring cut off. Jewelry stores, fire departments, and emergency rooms will have appropriate cutters available, and this will get the ring off quickly and easily, even if it is not your ideal option.
If your finger is turning purple, becoming discolored, or losing feeling, then you should visit a doctor as soon as possible for removal and hand injury treatment. If you don’t have the ring removed quickly, you could lose your finger in some extreme cases.
Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we care about your finger health. If you are feeling hand/finger, wrist, or elbow discomfort, visit Dr. Avery Arora, a Michigan hand specialist, at one of his southeast Michigan offices located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell.