Another day, another trick of the trade.
Today we have a patient presenting with a very painful wrist after slipping on the icy driveway as she was retrieving her Sunday paper.
She has no obvious deformity and no neurovascular compromise but her hand is quite swollen so we better get that ring off whilst we still can.
….but curses! It doesn’t seem to want to slip over her knuckle, even after an obscene lathering of KY jelly.
Now it transpires that this ring has a lot of sentimental as well as monetary value…..so before we reach for the ring cutter let us offer them this option..….

step 1.

First pass a decent length of strong suture material (we actually have some thick fishing line set aside for just this purpose) under the ring.
Have the longer end on the distal side of the ring.
This method should never be considered if you suspect a fracture of the finger.

step 2.

Take this distal end of the string and begin wrapping it snugly around the finger. Continue wrapping around and around, spiralling over the knuckle and down the finger.
This can become a little uncomfortable (nurses code for painful) for the patient, so try to do this smoothly and quickly. Let them know it might hurt a bit but will probably save their ring from a costly trip to the jewellers.

step 3.

Next, and this requires a little practice, hold the distal end of the string against their finger, grab the proximal end.
Unwind the string, moving around the finger, whilst pulling firmly and maintaining tension.
Continue pulling on the string and unwinding it ‘over’ and ‘around’ the ring…..with a little luck the ring will slowly slide down and off the patient’s finger earning you some rightful admiration. (Keep the ring cutters handy in case it becomes too uncomfortable or fails to budge.)
We have an electric ring cutter that will slice through most rings if we need to get them off in a hurry.

step 4.

Now..give it a quick polish. (KY Jelly brings jewellery up a treat.) Present the intact ring to her, quickly reassess the neurovascular status of the finger and calmly proclaim, “just doing my job ma’am …..just doing my job.”
Walk a way with a barely perceptible swagger in your step.

77 Responses to “how to remove a stuck ring.”

  1. This really does work! And it really does hurt! My finger was way fatter and swollen than the day i said “I Do” to my husband. Waaaay fatter. I was skeptical but I think if you can just get through the pain then it will work. I used waxed floss tape which was good because its wider than normal floss. My word of advice to readers: wrap the finger well past the knuckle. I stopped right after the nuckle and started to panic because it hurt so bad and I was running out of floss to move it over and pass the knuckle. Luckily I had just enough, but boy was that scary! I am ultimately glad that I didn’t have to get my wedding ring cut off. Thank you!

  2. I think I only had about a 50% success rate doing this. As with Lizzy I used trachy tape. But I guess that’s 50% that didn’t need the ring cutter! @Millie, I guess you had a tricky one. I’m curious what method the a&e used in the end?

  3. This trick really works, it might be bit painful but it works and my finger turned into purple during the process and I was like, lets end it up fast! I used a dental floss and it took 2 minutes to complete the process, when the ring was near to my knuckle, I used soap. Apply ice to the swollen finger after taking out the ring.

  4. A suggested, but possibly important change which may help ease any pain and reduce additional tissue damage: Begin wrapping from the distal end (distal to the knuckle) towards the ring. You should wrap over a small length of the distal end of the string to secure it in place while you wrap. When you reach the ring, thread the proximal end of the string under the ring. (A small paper clip can help grab the string.) This helps to move fluids back under the ring and away from the finger tip. (Reducing swelling) In an extreme case, using the suggested method, the end of the finger pad could possibly split as the blood is forced towards the tip. (I have seen this happen with someone playing with a large rubber band.) The lube addition should help too.

  5. WOW IT REALLY WORKED IN LESS THEN 3 minutes awsome

  6. Works like magic. Have been apprehensive for three days now. Could not remove at night as normal. Used sewing thread and less than three minutes. Great Idea. Thanks all.

  7. wow! Thank you so much!what a genius trick! My ring is finally off, just like that! I used dental floss, worked perfectly

  8. Thanks for the trick! We get a lot of people into the ICU that are sedated and I always get the rings off fast in case edema sets

  9. This is the best advice ever!!! I wear my rings religiously becuase if they are not on my fingers I lose them within a matter of an hour. They do not come off my rings unless we go to the beach because there I am afraid of them slipping off into lake Michigan. Well last summer after our last outting to the beach I put my rings back on 3 of them my wedding rings my mothers day ring and one mystic fire topaze ring my husband bought me a few years ago. By Christmas I had probably gained 7 or 8 lbs. without realizing it. We were on vacation and going swimming at a pool, I went to take my rings off and found that the topaz ring would not come off I tried everything, tape wrapping, windex, peanut butter, cooking oil, vasiline….to no avail. I was just tired of the ring being stuck on my finger it did not cut circulation but just was annoying knowing I couldn’t get it off. 7 Months later, Today I finally found this dental floss trick and had the ring off my finger with no pain at all within maybe 2 minutes. Now I put the ring on the opposite Ring Man instead of Tall Man.So much happier now.

  10. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for this information. Since I have been a nurse for more than 40 years, I have seen this in practice and it is works! However, couldn’t find it in writing and my younger colleagues thought I have gone over the edge.

  11. Great trick, have used it many times over the years in ED. I use white trachy tape rather than thread as it is flat and squishes down the swelling for easier removal!

  12. It worked! Both my engagement and wedding ring were stuck. I’ve managed to get my engagement ring off using this method but I’m going to give my finger a rest before trying to get my wedding ring off. I never would of thought of this idea. Thanks.

  13. I AM SOOOOO HAPPY! This method really works! After giving birth to my son I thought I could put my wedding ring back on; boy was I wrong. My ring was stuck on my finger for 3 days. I was ready to cut it off! Was a little painful bit I would recommend this method to ANY and EVERYONE!!!! Thank u thank u thank u!

  14. IT’S OFF………IT’S OFF……….IT’S OFF………..
    I’m still shaking through this experience. It took 2 attempts and 3 of us pulling, tugging wriggling etc. I actually used dental floss. It then got stuck on my knuckle so had the fairy washing up liquid ready and slowly but gradually it came off.
    OH What a relief…………………………………………

  15. I used the fishing string took about five try’s I am not putting my wedding ring on my middle finger for safe keeping ever again!

  16. Worked like a charm, i tried a whole bunch of other ones, and they didn’t work. hurt a lot, but you know, its tones more affordable then buying, engraving, then having to cut the ring off… thanks so much…

    a very happy fiance

  17. Oh my God! Thank you for posting this, like an imbecile I somehow squashed on my mothers expensive emerald ring on my finger for a party. My finger was way to fat for the ring, its a size 6 and my finger an 8, it got stuck I tried everything it was on my finger for an entire week! Then finally the second time I tried this it worked! I used waxed dental floss, my finger was a bit blue during the process and it hurt a bit but it is fine now. Thank you!!!! This works!!!!! If you try it and it does not work just give yourself a break and try again!!!!! It works, thank you:)

  18. It worked for my 14 year old who forced a ring on her finger and it was NOT going to come off. We had to rewrap a few times as it worked its way up and we had to use a very strong pull. It also took a couple of us to handle all of the different aspects, fingers down and strings up. It was painful, but it is off now and the finger is fine.

  19. What a life saver! Thanks so much. My wedding ring was stuck on my swollen finger. Tried oil, ice water, elevation, nothing worked. Went to bed hoping the swelling would come down on its own but no such luck. Looked on line, tried your idea and it’s off. I can’t thank you enough.

  20. Yay this really worked! :) Thankyou so much. It definitely does hurt, but as long as you make sure you’re doing it right, it works!

  21. It works!!! I used knitting wool and a little Fairy liquid just to ease it off at the end. Unbelievable, as my knuckle joint is swollen with arthritis. Brilliant!!

  22. I cannot believe this worked! In lieu of dental floss or fishing line, used thin ribbon.it is definitely painful as my poor wife can attest, but the ring came off!

  23. this didnt work for me and now i have to go to the a&e
    i think this is a rubbish method

  24. HOLY CRAP…this method works!!!!! I just did this on my 9 month pregnant friend who was about to go cut off her ring at the ER. Thank you!!!

  25. Oh my gosh!! I can’t believe it WORKED!! I sprained my finger an it was swollen badly enough that my wedding ring could no longer move (it is usually loose). It did hurt a bit, but having the ring on hurt more. Thank you for sharing!!!

  26. Its work like a charm !!! I use normal thread and olive oil … It move slowly and bit of blue sign but it took off in the end

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