How to Remove a Ring Stuck on Your Finger

man taking off wedding ring
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There are no sure-fire ways to remove a ring that's stuck on a finger other than cutting the finger off, which is typically not an optimal choice.

The method below is easy and does not require medical training or special equipment. Methods that involve wrapping the finger or using specialized equipment should be attempted only by trained medical personnel.

In cases of injured fingers, seek medical help immediately. Don't spend time trying to remove a ring from an injured finger. The binding of a ring around the finger may act as a tourniquet and cause permanent damage to the finger if not removed promptly.  Do not attempt removal if the finger is swollen, blue or purple, or if there is no feeling in the finger. If there is no injury to the finger, a ring may be removed at home.

RICE is the first aid option many choose for lots of sprains and strains, even though some are thinking there's a better option. Despite the fact that some folks don't think ice is a great idea for sprains, it remains the absolute best way to remove a ring that's stuck on a finger. If, that is, you plan to keep the finger.


  1. Elevate the affected hand high above the heart. Keeping the hand high will help blood drain from the tissues and bring down any swelling. Keep the hand elevated until the ring is removed.
  2. Cool the finger with an ice pack for 20 minutes or direct ice for 10 minutes. An easy way to cool the finger is to dip it in ice and water. Remember to keep the hand elevated while cooling the finger.
  3. Once the finger is cold and has been elevated for at least 15 to 20 minutes, use a lubricant to make the finger slippery. Baby or mineral oil works well. Soap can sometimes irritate the skin and may dry it out, but it works in a pinch.
  4. Compress the finger in front of the ring before trying to move the ring. Work the ring slowly; moving too fast will result in more swelling. Remember: Keep the affected hand elevated throughout the procedure.
  5. It may be necessary to cool the finger with ice multiple times during this process. If direct ice or iced water is used, remember not to expose the finger for more than 10 minutes. If an ice pack is used, expose it no more than 20 minutes. Always keep ice off the finger for at least 20 minutes before cooling again.​
  1. If the finger becomes swollen and discolored, or if several attempts to move the ring do not work, seek medical attention. Fire departments, hospital emergency departments, and many ambulances are equipped with cutters to remove stuck rings.
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Article Sources
  • 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.