A ring is meant to be worn on your finger — not welded to it. But sometimes rings that are too small get stubbornly shoved past the knuckle or the finger itself swells up overnight.
This becomes a serious situation when:
- The finger is turning various shades of purple and blue
- The finger has gone numb
- The finger has been mangled by ring avulsion
If this is the case for you currently, then don’t use your phone to scroll around for DIY solutions. Use it to get professional medical help.
And even if it’s not a medical emergency, but it becomes obvious that the ring needs to be cut off, don’t try that yourself. That’s the kind of situation which will turn into a medical emergency pretty quickly. Don’t let it go too long — don’t risk your finger trying to save the ring! We know where you can find an affordable replacement.
But if it's not an emergency, here are some different approaches to loosen a ring too tight depending on the time and resources available. A common acronym for the order of operations in ring removal is R.I.C.E: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
If you feel like your ring seems to oscillate back and forth between being a finger belt to a knuckle rattle, it’s not your imagination. Your finger changes size over the course of the day, and the ring feels tight and loose accordingly. If you aren’t in a rush to get the ring off, and it’s simply a big snug rather than actually uncomfortable, you can simply rest until changes in the temperature, altitude, and time of day favor easier removal. If a tight ring is an everyday occurrence, however, you might need to think through resizing or other options to prevent being caught in a bind.
Ice Water, Compression and Elevation
Sometimes the finger swelling isn’t a pattern of regular oscillation but of steady escalation. You might know that you are only headed for warmer temperatures or you are just twenty weeks into a pregnancy. Or you might not be able to wait for your finger’s timeline before heading into the operating room. In these instances, you can instigate your own change of temperature and altitude before the pinch gets worse.
Dip your finger in ice water or prop it up on an ice pack. Don’t do this longer than fifteen minutes — you don’t want to flirt with frostbite. Gently press the skin above the ring (compression) before giving the jewelry an experimental twist. Don’t further irritate your skin with too much tugging if it’s obvious it isn’t going to budge. Ideally, you would find a way to keep your finger at a higher elevation, as in above your head —– this method is all about reducing blood flow to reduce swelling.
Slip and Slide
If you’ve got some slippery supplies you can grease things up. Baby oil. Lotion. Even Windex. But, again, nothing that is going to further irritate your skin.
A final unlikely alternative is dental floss if you can poke the thread under the ring. Then wind more of the strand around the part of the finger above the constricting band toward the finger tip, so that you can begin sliding the ring above the compressed area and off the finger.
Once you get the ring off, make sure it isn’t going to get stuck there again. It’s true that it can be harder to adjust a ring to a larger size, but don’t tempt fate by sliding something constrictive onto your finger or surrender to discomfort. Modern Gents has a no-hassle exchange policy and an entire catalog of flexible alternatives that can serve as interim bands.