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Doctor reveals the key to removing a ring stuck on your finger

As the weather heats up, don’t be surprised if your rings feel tighter than usual…

If you get an engagement ring or wedding ring stuck on your finger while it’s warm or humid outside, it’s because the heat causes blood vessels to expand, which makes your hand and fingers swell. Changes in weather are the most common reason for sudden ring tightness – so don’t panic.

However, if it becomes painful or uncomfortable and you are desperate to remove the ring, we’ve teamed with Dr Deborah Lee to reveal her top tips that don’t involve damaging your jewellery.

She said: “It can be very alarming to find that the ring you’ve worn for years suddenly won’t come off your finger. Yes, your ring is stuck!

“This might be because your finger has got fatter, or perhaps due to arthritis resulting in swelling and deformity in a finger joint.

Sometimes, a hand or wrist injury can cause the fingers to swell. Other medical conditions, such as an underactive thyroid, can also cause weight gain and puffy fingers.

However, the good news is, there is no need to panic. The majority of rings can be removed with simple measures.”

Should you go to A&E?

If you’ve been pulling at the ring in a desperate attempt to tug it off, you’re probably going to make matters worse, and your finger will be even more swollen. However, if you’re in a lot of pain Dr Lee advises heading to A&E as it could be dangerous if left.

She said: “The only time this becomes a real emergency is if the ring is so tight, that it blocks the circulation to your finger completely, meaning the arterial blood supply is cut off. If this were to happen your finger would be very painful and feel numb to touch. It only happens rarely but is an emergency, because if it is not treated in time, the finger may die, and then you would lose the finger.”

How to get the ring off

If you’re going to try to get the ring off yourself, you need to make sure you don’t damage the ring. To find out more we asked Dr Lee to share her clever hacks for removing a tight ring at home.

1. Washing up liquid

“Wash your hands under cool water using soapy or washing up liquid. Rub a lot of soap around the ring on the affected finger. Now try and remove the ring by twisting the ring around and pulling the finger away from the ring. Often this will dislodge it.”

2. Holding your finger in a cup of ice water – above your head

“If the finger is very swollen, you can try submerging it in a cup of ice-cold water for 10 minutes. It sounds silly but it’s best to hold the finger in the cup of iced water, above your head, as elevating the hand and arm will help reduce the swelling. You may need to do this several times. Then try again to remove the ring using the twisting technique described above.”

3. Dental floss

“A third option is to wind a piece of dental floss around the finger firmly, between the ring and the finger joint. This reduces the swelling. Then as you unwind the dental floss from adjacent to the ring, try to slide the ring towards the joint over the skin that was compressed by the dental floss.”

If you really can’t shift the ring, you should go to your nearest A&E department where they can cut the ring off with metal cutters. Don’t worry, as most rings can be fixed by a good jeweller. Titanium rings, however, pose a particular problem as they are so hard and cannot be cut off with traditional silver and gold cutters.

4. An elastic band

Alongside Dr. Lee, Dr. Simon Carley, the Professor of Emergency Care at Manchester Metropolitan University, recently revealed that he has never had to cut someone’s ring off when it became too tight. Instead, he uses the elastic band from an oxygen mask to remove the ring.

Whilst most of us don’t have the elastic band from an oxygen mask in our homes, a regular elastic band or hair elastic will also do the trick. He wraps the elastic around the finger all the way to the ring. This compresses the tissue in the finger.

When he has wrapped the elastic all the way to the ring, he uses tweezers to feed the end of the elastic under the ring. Once this has been done, you can pull on the end of the elastic in the opposite direction, which then “spirals” the ring and gets it to move over the compressed tissue of the finger.

How do you avoid your ring becoming too tight?

Some people never take their engagement or wedding rings off, which is part of the problem, as they don’t realise how tight they are becoming. Take your rings off from time to time to check you can still easily get them off and go for help sooner rather than later if the ring has become difficult to remove.

Dr Lee also advises to manage your weight, and any medical conditions the best you can. Keep active and use your joints – including your hand joints.

How do you know if your ring fits properly?

Many people are unsure of how a ring should fit on their finger. Should it feel loose? Tight? Should it be forced over the joints in the finger?

Here’s what our engagement ring specialists say:

“Your ring should be able to spin on your finger with a little effort. It should be able to move in both a clockwise and a counter-clockwise direction. If you can’t do this, try cooling your hand with ice for 10 minutes, and then try again. If the skin beneath it is still stuck, your ring is too tight.

“Most of us are familiar with the term “muffin top” which refers to the bulge we get over our jeans when we’re bloated, well the same applies to rings. If there is a balloon of skin either above or below your ring, then just like your jeans, the ring is too small.

“Finally, if you can tell which finger your ring is on, based on how it feels, the ring is probably too tight for safety. If you have a tingling finger, or a finger that is noticeably cooler than the others, with a bluish-white skin tone, you need to get the ring off right away.

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