How to Get a Ring off When It's Stuck

Getting a ring stuck on your finger can be frustrating and sometimes painful. Most of the time, you can remove it yourself. When you can't, there are some tips you can try to make it easier.

This article discusses tips for removing a ring stuck on your finger and when to seek medical help.

A man taking off his wedding ring
Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Tips to Remove Your Ring

If your ring is stuck, it's usually because your finger is swollen. Some of the following tips use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) to bring the swelling down. The goal is to twist the ring slowly off your finger since pulling it with force can cause additional injury.

Raise Your Hand

Elevating your hand with the ring may help to bring down the swelling. Raise it to a level above your heart for about 5 to 10 minutes. This can help blood drain from the tissues, reducing the fluid build-up.

Use Ice

Put your finger in ice water or use an ice pack for 15 minutes or less. The ice reduces blood flow, which helps bring down the swelling. If possible, keep your hand elevated while cooling your finger.

After 15 minutes, try gently compressing your finger above the ring and slowly twisting it off.

Don't use the ice for too long, though. Ice can cause frostbite if you leave it on your skin. Remember to remove it after 15 minutes, and wait 15 minutes before reapplying. If you feel pain or numbness from the cold, remove the ice immediately.

Recap

Raising your hand and using ice can help reduce blood flow in your finger. Try both of these tips to help reduce swelling.

Use Lotion

Putting a lotion or oil on your hand may help you to slide the ring off. Try using hand lotion, baby oil, coconut oil, butter, vegetable oil, or Vaseline around the ring.

After you've coated the area, try gently twisting the ring off rather than pulling it. Slowly twisting it may help avoid the swelling that occurs when you pull too hard on your ring.

Wrap a Piece of String

One trick to remove a stuck ring is to use a piece of dental floss, ribbon, or string. Tuck one end of the string underneath your ring. Then wrap the string around your finger above the ring. Make sure to wrap snugly until the string passes your lower knuckle.

Holding the end of the string under the ring, gently pull and unwrap the string. The ring should slowly come off as you unwind the string.

Recap

To help slip off the ring, try using a lubricant like baby oil or hand lotion. You can also try the string method, which helps to compress the swelling and gently remove the ring.

Cut off the Ring

This may be the last resort if all of the above tips aren't working. If you need someone to cut off your ring with a ring cutter, you can find them in jewelry stores, fire departments, emergency rooms, and some ambulances.

When to Get Medical Help

If your finger is injured, call your doctor. Don't try to remove the ring if if the injured finger is swollen from the injury, turning colors like blue or purple, or if there is no feeling in the finger. The ring may act as a tourniquet, stopping the flow of blood. This may cause permanent damage to the finger without immediate medical help. 

If there is no injury to the finger, you can try to get it off yourself. But if you aren't able to remove the ring, check with your doctor or another medical professional.

Summary

To remove a ring that's stuck, try using ice and raising your hand above your head. You could also use a lubricant to make the ring easier to slip off. The string method can help you slowly pull off the ring. Seek medical care if your finger is injured or if you can't get the ring off after multiple tries.

A Word From Verywell

It's normal to feel a little panicked when you realize your ring is stuck. Rest assured that you can usually remove it with one of the tips above. If you're in pain, or your finger is quickly swelling or turning colors, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. They can find a way to remove it quickly and keep your finger from getting injured.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. How to get a ring off.

  2. Rahimian R, Lippi M, Rusaqoli J, Perez LM. Resolution of ring tourniquet with a high-speed dental drill in a remote Pacific island clinic. Cureus. 2019;11(4):e4474. doi:10.7759/cureus.4474

Additional Reading
  • Kumar A, Edwards H, Lidder S, Mestha P. Dangers of neglect: partially embedded ring upon a finger. BMJ Case Rep. 2013 May 9;2013. pii: bcr2013009501. doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-009501.