Swelling of the fingers or toes is common after an injury
to the hand, arm, foot, or leg. If you did not remove a ring before swelling
began, try one of the following methods. These methods can be used for rings on
fingers or toes. If these methods fail, see your doctor to have
the ring removed.
Don't try to force the finger or toe out of the
ring. This may make the area swell more, making the ring harder to
Relax your hand or foot. Relaxation alone will sometimes
enable you to free the ring.
Elevate your affected hand or foot, if
Apply ice around the affected area. This may reduce
swelling and allow the ring to be removed.
If ice doesn't work,
dribble soapy water or cooking oil on the area. Turn the ring as if unscrewing
it rather than pulling it off directly.
Second method (string method)
Start wrapping a slick piece of string, such
as dental floss, from the fingertip side of the knuckle toward the ring.
Wrap the string snugly. Each wrap should be right next to the one before.
Wrap to the edge of the ring.
the end of the string under the ring. Grasp the end under the ring and start unwrapping it.
Push the ring along ahead of the unwrapping string as you unwrap it to remove
Illustration A (may also be tried on a toe)
Illustration B (may also be tried on a toe)
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.