How to Get a Ring off a Swollen Finger | The Diamond Reserve

How to Get a Ring off a Swollen Finger

All of sudden realizing that your ring is stuck on your finger can cause a panic, but unless it’s an emergency, don’t jump to cutting your ring off right away. If your finger isn’t injured, you can likely remove the ring yourself with some patience and the help of some things you may have around the house. Let’s discuss why rings get stuck in the first place, tips to safely remove a stuck ring, and what to do when that ring still will not budge.

Why Do Rings Get Stuck?

There are a number of reasons why a ring can get stuck on your finger. Maybe it’s a scorching hot day, or you just finished a strenuous run. Hot temperatures and humidity can cause your blood vessels to expand; this can lead to swelling in your fingers. Fingers can also swell a little with exercise. If you consume a diet high in salt, even if it’s just a night out at your favorite restaurant; your body will retain water, causing your fingers to swell. It’s also common for pregnant women to experience swelling in their extremities, particularly in the third trimester.

In these situations, sit tight, your finger should return to its normal state in a day or so. If you’re pregnant, it may be best to remove your rings until after your baby is born, just to be safe. Another common reason rings get stuck is if you tried on a ring that’s slightly too small, or didn’t get your ring sized correctly and it’s a little too snug and then your fingers swell up. Over time, your fingers can change and become larger and if you rarely remove your ring and haven’t noticed, it can also become stuck as a result of those unnoticed changes. 

If you suffer from an inflammatory type of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or gout, your knuckles may become swollen and stiff which can definitely restrict your ability to wear rings comfortably. If you’ve suffered a recent injury to your hand or finger or have an infection, that can also cause swelling to the point that it makes the fit of your ring feel uncomfortably tight. It’s always best to have a medical professional assist you when removing a ring from a swollen finger due to an injury, as attempting to do it yourself could cause further harm.

How To Safely Remove a Stuck Ring

If you know that your ring gets stuck only when your fingers swell during certain circumstances like spending a day in the sun or working out, then you can remove it beforehand. Even if your fingers don’t swell, it’s always a good idea to remove your rings before exercising, swimming, gardening, or spending time outdoors or in sweaty situations to avoid damage. If the issue comes up frequently, then it might be time to resize your ring. If your ring is just slightly too small for your finger, and is frequently stuck, resizing it will save you a lot of frustration and pain.

If you find that you’ve got a ring stuck on your finger, don’t panic or tug on it too much because that can cause additional swelling to your finger and be really painful. One of the safest and most comfortable methods of removing a stuck ring is to reduce the swelling and shrink your finger back down to its average size. Try running your hand under ice-cold water as you gently twist the ring over your knuckle. If that’s not enough, put your hand in an ice water bath long enough for your blood vessels to constrict so your finger shrinks back. You can speed up the process by dipping your hand into a cup of ice and holding it above your head. The elevation will keep some of the blood flow out of your finger, and this strategy alone may be enough to decrease the swelling to allow safe removal of your ring.

After icing and elevating, if your ring still isn’t coming off, try adding a lubricant such as soap and water, oil, or Windex which will lessen the surface tension between your skin and ring, making it easier to remove. Some great lubricants to use are Windex, soap and water, oil, and lotion. Just be careful not to douse your ring finger with a lubricant that could harm your jewelry, especially if it’s a special piece like an engagement or wedding ring.

  • Start by applying Windex, soap, lotion, or another lubricant to make your finger slippery.
  • Gently rock your ring back and forth (rather than twisting it) as you work it over your knuckle.

If that doesn’t work, try the wrap method to get your ring off with dental floss or thread. This works best if the ring is only a little stuck and your finger isn’t super swollen otherwise this method will actually make things worse! We highly recommend seeing a doctor or jeweler if the lube and twist method didn’t work. 

  • Slip some of floss under your ring, keeping most of it toward your fingertip
  • Wrap your finger tightly so it’s compressed with the floss starting at the top of your ring and moving up
  • Use the end of the floss that was under the ring to push the ring up over your knuckle which will unravel the floss as you go

If your ring is still not budging, you may need to seek professional help. If your ring is stuck due to an injury or you are in pain, always head to your doctor first. If these strategies don’t work, your ring can be cut off by a local EMT or fire department, or at the emergency room. Otherwise call your jeweler and hopefully they can cut off your ring in a way to save it from any further damage.

Want a jeweler you can trust in these sticky situations? The Diamond Reserve is here to help, give us a call at (720) 560-3548 or book an appointment