How to Get a Ring off When It's Stuck

If your ring is stuck on your finger, it's likely because your finger is swollen. The ring itself may also simply be too small. This cannot only be frustrating, but painful.

If your finger isn't injured, you can likely remove the ring yourself with some patience and the help of some things you may have around the house. When you can't, you may need to have it cut off. In some cases you may even need to seek medical attention.

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 finger is fine, but the ring is just stuck, you can try to get it off yourself.

Some of the following tips use the R.I.C.E. method to bring the swelling down. R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Others use some common household items that can help slide the ring off your finger.

Regardless of which strategy you choose to use, twist the ring off of your finger slowly. Pulling it with force can cause additional swelling and possibly injury.

Raise Your Hand

Elevating the hand wearing the ring can help blood drain from the tissues, reducing the fluid build-up. This may help bring down the swelling enough to slide the ring off.

Raise your hand to a level above your heart for about five to 10 minutes.

Use Ice

Put your finger in ice water or apply a covered ice pack for 15 minutes or less. If possible, keep your hand elevated while cooling your finger.

After 15 minutes, try gently compressing your finger above the ring (closer to the knuckle) and slowly twisting it off. If it doesn't budge, wait 15 minutes and try again by repeating this process.

The cold from the ice reduces blood flow, which helps bring down swelling. But longer application time isn't better. Ice can cause frostbite if you leave it on your skin for longer than is suggested. 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 finger swelling so you can more easily remove your ring.

Grease Up Your Finger

Putting on lotion or oil may help the ring slide off. Try applying hand lotion, baby oil, coconut oil, butter, vegetable oil, or petroleum jelly on your finger, concentrating it around the ring.

After you've coated the area, try gently twisting the ring off.

Wrap a Piece of String

Cut a long piece of dental floss, ribbon, or string. Thread it underneath your ring so that a few inches are left tucked underneath the side facing your wrist.

You should have the majority of the length left on the side facing your fingernail. Wrap that end of the string snugly around your finger below the ring. Keep wrapping it around until you reach the joint closest to your fingernail, then leave it dangling.

Holding the end tucked under the ring, gently pull and unwind the string, unraveling it toward your fingernail. The ring should slowly come off as you do.

Recap

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

Have the Ring Cut Off

If all of the above tips aren't working, this may be a necessary last resort.

Fire departments, emergency rooms, ambulances, and even some jewelry stores have ring cutting tools to help. Never attempt this on your own.

When to Get Medical Help

If you aren't able to remove the ring, check with a medical professional.

Don't try to remove the ring if the injured finger is swollen, painful, turning colors like blue or purple, or if there is no feeling in the finger.

In these cases, the ring may be acting as a tourniquet, stopping the flow of blood. This may cause permanent damage to the finger without immediate medical help. 

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.

Sliding a string under the ring, wrapping bottom end around your finger, and unraveling it from the top down can also 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

When you do get your ring off, don't try squeezing into it again. Check with a jewelry store to get it resized. If it can't be resized, but it's a favorite ring, consider wearing it on a necklace instead of your finger.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I reduce finger swelling to remove a ring?

    There are two methods to reduce finger swelling and make ring removal easier. If one method doesn't work, try both.

    • Raise your hand above your heart, with your fingers pointing straight up, for at least five to 10 minutes. Gravity may help the swelling drain away.
    • Cool your finger using ice water or a covered ice pack (but don't apply it for more than 15 minutes at a time).
  • Which finger is the ring finger?

    The fourth finger is the ring finger, located between the pinky and middle finger. A ring can be worn on any finger, but wedding rings are often worn specifically on the ring finger.

Was this page helpful?
4 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. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Heat treatment and cold treatment.

  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Emergencies and first aid - removing a stuck ring.

  4. 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