A ring stuck on your finger can be dreadful. You may have worn a ring smaller than your size, you might have gained weight, or if you’re just months away from giving birth to a baby, there’s a high chance that your ring will stick on your swollen or fat finger.
On the other hand, some unfortunate traumas such as insect bite or finger fractures also lead to swollen fingers. However, you don’t need to panic because, in this article, we will address everything you will need to know in case you or your close ones ever suffer from this mishap.
Here, we will discuss cases where you must rush to emergency care as well as on how to remove a ring from a swollen finger.
When should you seek immediate medical help?
Be aware that not every problem has a home remedy. If any of the following signs are present, you must seek urgent medical help.
If you’re suffering from a swollen figure as a result of some physical trauma, there might be chances that you broke a finger. In these cases, normally, you experience extreme sharp pain followed by slow swelling of the finger.
If that’s the case, you should not try any of the below-mentioned tips to remove the ring from your swollen finger and go to a doctor as soon as possible.
If the skin in your swollen finger has purple or reddish blotch or patches, this can be an indication of abnormal blood circulation in the finger. If you see signs of mottling on your finger, you should not waste your time trying to take off the ring at home.
Grayish blue or purple-colored finger indicates that the ring has compromised the blood circulation. Once you feel that your swollen finger is turning blue or it is becoming numb, rush to a hospital to get an emergency ring removal.
Capillary refill test:
Capillary refill test is done to monitor the amount of blood flow into the tissue. Hold the hand with the swollen finger higher than the heart-level and press the tip of the finger or fingernail until it turns white.
Note the time it takes for the color to return; also called capillary refill time. Normally, capillary refill time is less than 2 secs. If it takes longer for the color to return, be smart, and seek medical care as soon as possible.
Try these at-home emergency ring removal techniques:
Were you able to rule out the above-mentioned threatening conditions? If yes, take a deep breath, be grateful that your finger is safe, and try the following techniques to remove the ring of the swollen finger.
1. Twist and pull the ring
Panicking and trying to remove your ring straight-off is the most common mistake much make when a ring gets stuck. Be patient and slowly twist the ring by applying a gentle upward force. If the swelling is not that severe, this method might do the trick.
2. Press and push the ring
If twisting the ring didn’t do the work for you, try pressing the swollen finger from the underside and push the ring upwards simultaneously. As the ring approaches the knuckle, push the ring from the upper side of the finger.
3. Dip your finger in ice water
If the above two methods failed, it signifies that your finger is severely swollen. Dip your finger in ice-cold water for three to five minutes. As an alternative, you can also wrap an ice pack around the finger. Chilling your swollen finger helps reduce excess fluid buildup.
Once you chill your finger, you can try twisting and pushing the ring again.
4. Elevation method
After submerging your finger in ice-cold water, elevate your hand above the heart-level for a good few minute. These two methods, when performed sequentially, become more effective in reducing the swelling in the finger.
As the hand rests above the shoulder, gravity rushes the blood away from the finger. Try removing your ring immediately after you’ve lowered your hand.
Lubrication might be the most popular technique to remove a ring off a swollen or a fat finger. The principle is simple, make your finger slippery with the help of some lubricating substance such that it reduces the friction between the ring and the finger.
You can apply plentiful hand lotion, oily moisturizers, petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, butter, conditioner, or soap to make your finger slippery and slowly twist and pull the ring upwards.
6. Use a surgical glove
You might be surprised but the surgical glove is also very effective in removing a stuck ring off a swollen finger. Doctors often use this method over the dental-floss method since it is less painful and can be used even in a wounded finger.
Cut a finger portion of a surgical glove cylindrically and insert it into the finger. With the help of forceps or tweezers, insert the cut portion of the glove in-between the finger and the ring. Now, the glove below the ring is turned inside out and gently pulled outwards.
You can make this method more affective my lubricating the gloves and then pulling it outwards.
7. Use the string-wrap method
If none of the above techniques worked, this Harvard Medical School approved method might do its job. Insert one end of the string or dental floss under the ring using a toothpick or a tweezer. Now, wrap the string tightly around the finger starting right adjacent to the ring.
Wrap the string evenly and make sure that if you are not wrapping it extremely tight either which might lead to further complications. You can stop wrapping the string once you’ve passed over the knuckle and secure the end.
Now, take the end of the string or the floss that you’ve inserted under the ring and start unwrapping the string in the same direction you wrapped it. This forces the ring to slide over the string easily.
Since this method might be painful or overwhelming to perform alone, taking someone else’s help would be a smart decision.
8. Use nylon cloth or an elastic
The string-wrap method might be terrorizing to some people since it might elevate the pain that you’re already experiencing due to a swollen finger and a stuck ring. Instead of dental floss or string, you can cut a thin strip of nylon cloth or an elastic and insert it under the ring.
Wrap the strip and unwrap exactly the way you would in the string-wrap method. This method might not be as effective as a string-wrap method because the cloth or the elastic might be difficult to wrap evenly and smoothly around the finger which eventually increases the friction against the ring.
9. Try Windex
Though this might not be the best option for many types of precious rings, Windex might miraculously remove the stuck ring off your swollen finger. Many professionals in ER are also known to use this technique for ring removal.
Windex acts as a lubricant and is also believed to reduce surface tension between the finger and ring as the result of various surfactants present in it. Spray some Windex on your ring and the finger and try twisting the ring after about 10-20 seconds.
10. Remove a stuck ring with a plastic wrap
Sounds atypical, doesn’t it? But you can also remove your ring off a swollen finger using a plastic wrap or a cling film.
Just as in the case of the surgical glove method, wrap the plastic around the finger and insert about half an inch of the wrap under the ring. Finally, lubricate the plastic wrap and twist and slide your ring outwards slowly.
11. Cutting the ring
If none of the above-mentioned methods works, you might have to cut off the ring to protect your finger. Make sure that you only cut your ring at home only if any professional or experienced person is present there.
It is highly recommended to visit a hospital or a jewelry shop for this method since they have professional ring cutting equipment. Furthermore, your jeweler might know where and how exactly to cut the ring such that it will be easier for you to get a shank repair in case you decide to have one.
Now that we’ve discussed when to visit emergency care and all possible at-home techniques of ring removal off a swollen or fat finger, you can try various methods unless you find the one that works for you.
On the other hand, you’ll have to be patient and aware of not being too harsh in these situations since it might lead to further irritation.
Finally, if you or your closed ones experience unfortunate situations such as getting stung by an insect or suffering from finger injury once again, make sure to remember and remind others to take off the rings immediately to save yourself from this painful and annoying experience.