‘Til death do us part, or until the sweltering heat of summer starts causing you so much pain, the ring simply needs to come off.
Found yourself in this rather uncomfortable predicament? While our fingers can regularly swell and shrink, sometimes it can get to an unbearable point where the ring really needs to come off, but then you realise it simply can’t! What do you do?
Having recently been through this predicament, here’s what we’ve found:
1. Don’t panic!
The more distressed you become at the situation, the hotter and more flustered you get which won’t help the swelling. Try and cool yourself off before you start. If the swelling is due to the heat, find yourself a comfortable and cool spot to get started.
2. Submerge your hand in ice
Before we get started actually touching the ring, we want to reduce any excess swelling and fluid build-up. If the ring has only very recently become stuck this may well be enough to bring you relief so the ring can stay put, or at least better prepare your hand for what’s coming next.
Submerge your hand in icy water for 3-5 minutes or as long as you can stand before heading for some lubricant.
3. Get in a soapy lather
Lathering your hands with cold water and soap suds is the first place to start. Alternate pressing on the top and bottom of your ring to let the bubbles pass between your finger and the ring. Slowly start to twist and turn the ring and then gently pull.
Try another lubricant
Not just soap, you could also try baby oil, vaseline, hair conditioner, hand lotion or even Windex.
Twist don’t pull
Tugging on the ring will cause your skin to bunch and could increase swelling even further. It helps to twist gently back and forth and wiggle upwards so your skin is adjusting with the ring.
Keep your finger bent
Let your hand rest as naturally as possible and lightly bend your finger, this will help reduce skin gathering at the knuckle.
Press the ring up from the underside as you approach the knuckle, it will make it easier to work over the skin folds on top of your knuckle.
If this still hasn’t helped get you past the knuckle, we need to head back to icing. Don’t twist and press for more than 5 minutes before trying another method.
4. Elevate with an ice pack
We’re going to let gravity do some work now. Wrap an ice pack around your hand/finger and rest your hand above your shoulder for several minutes. This should help drain excess fluid and rush blood away from your finger.
Try and maintain your hand in this position until it goes tingly. Immediately lower your hand and try the twist and push.
5. Plastic wrapping
Try wrapping your finger with cling wrap or plastic film (or even scotch tape!) then coat the outside of the plastic film with liquid soap or lubricant of choice. The ring might twist easier over the plastic film than over your bare skin.
6. Use dental floss
We kid you not! This is another compression method designed to press in the skin around the knuckle to give you a smoother and narrower surface to work with. This advice from the American Society of Surgery for the Hand explains exactly how to wrap the floss and remove.
7. Ring Rescue
So common a problem that there’s even been an invention made to help. Ring Rescue prevents the need for cutting by reducing the swelling in your finger first. Many jewellers and emergency departments may stock a ring rescue device if you really want to avoid cutting as a last resort.
8. Seek medical Help
Only once you have tried all of these methods (and perhaps a sharp drink!) and still had no luck then it may be time to seek medical help. If the swelling is due to an injury, or you are seeing the finger turn blue or losing feeling, then do this sooner rather than later!
Do accept if you seek medical help you may well be faced with the alternative of having the ring safely cut off.
Got your ring off?
The swelling may well just be seasonal, or due to pregnancy, but our bodies do change shape over the years too. Medical conditions such as arthritis can see our knuckle joints swell as we get older.
If your ring is becoming too tight for everyday wear, it’s best to take your precious ring to a jeweller and ask them to resize it. Most rings are easier to resize larger than smaller.
Alternatively, consider moving your ring to a necklace or another piece of jewellery when your experiencing swelling then move it back to your finger when conditions improve.
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