Help: My ring is stuck!

Help if your ring is stuck

Follow the advice below to get it back off again

It is a bit like the kid with the head stuck in the railings situation, the ring slides on quite smoothly and feels fine.  Then when you come to remove won’t come off.  If your ring feels stuck first rule is always don’t panic. Follow these steps and you should be able to liberate your finger again.  If you have injured your hand or arm, then don’t spend too long on these points, go straight to the next section and consider your options there.

  1. Don’t panic! I’ve said this already, but it is worth saying again. Stress can increase your heart rate, pushing more blood through the skin, and this adds to swelling. I have clients trying on rings in meetings when they think it has stuck. So first rule is relax. If your ring is stuck it is temporarily so, and is going to come off!
  2. Raise your hand where the ring that has got stuck is. This slows blood flow to the hand, and sometimes after a few minutes, this is all you need to slide the ring off. If your hands are very hot, hold something cool as well, to send blood away from the surface of the skin.
  3. Friendly pressure. A ring is round, a finger is not. So rather than trying to slide the ring straight back over the knuckle, push it against one side of the finger and slide it along this side of the finger. Don’t pull and yank if the ring isn’t coming off, it will increase swelling around the knuckle, the key area you are trying to get the ring over. If someone is with you, ask them to help by pulling the skin in the direction of your knuckle so it doesn't gather in front of the band.
  4. Soap and water. I haven’t listed this as the default, as you may not have access to soap and water. But it provides the traction which usually alleviates all other routes. Use cold or tepid water, remember you are trying to keep any swelling down. (Oil also works, if you don’t have access to soap immediately – for example in a workshop).

If the above is not working, get help

In the event you have injured yourself, then your hand is likely to be swelling up for different reasons.  If your ring is not coming off, then the above is not going to work, and you need to get help quickly.  A medical professional will be able to either alleviate the extreme swelling, or remove the ring.

If it is a precious metal like platinum, gold or silver, it is easy enough to cut off. Be mindful that if it is an industrial metal, like titanium, cobalt or tungsten these are far harder to remove, as they are so hard themselves. Either way, the sooner you get to A&E the better.  No A&E?  Interestingly enough, dentists can sometimes help too!  Try to keep your hand above heart level while you get there, and if you have a cold compress this may help with comfort and swelling.  

Time really is of the essence here.  Those precious rings may not look very appealing cut open, but they are easy enough to repair, I help clients to repair and resize ring that have been cut open all the time.  Fingers are more problematic.  So get a professional opinion as soon as you can.

Prevention is the best form of cure

It’s a gorgeous ring, and no wonder you’d be desperate to wear an ‘I Do’ such as this, but it is also too small and will cause pain and swelling if left on.

When I’m commissioning engagement rings for clients, in general I’ll advise caution in getting the size right.  It is far less disappointing to have a ring that needs to be made smaller, than a ring that won’t even slide on!

Look at the image above.  See how the ring is cutting into the finger slightly?  Left on at this size, the finger is likely to swell as circulation is restricted.  This is the common way a ring gets stuck on the finger. The above image looks a bit dramatic, but less than half a mm in diameter can make the ring feel tight.

On removing the ring, it should slide over the knuckle with a little resistance; after all, you don’t want it to slide off again easily.  At the same time, if it requires a lot of force then it may be difficult to get back off again.  If you have larger knuckles and slimmer fingers there are steps which can be taken to stop the rings spinning.

Be careful wearing rings when doing exercise as this is where your hands may swell up.  Ditto, carrying luggage.  You may be unaffected, but if you aren’t sure, say because this is the first time you’ve ever worn a ring, just be mindful.

All this just for a ring?!  Well, as everyone who enjoys wearing a ring knows, it is worth it, and just taking care of your hands, and being realistic with how big your fingers are will mean you won’t ever have to worry about this advice, and you can just go on enjoying them.

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