First aid for swelling: How to remove a ring from a finger or toe

The swelling of the fingers or toes is common after sustaining an injury to the hand. If a ring was not removed before the swelling starts, there are methods that you can use. Take note that these methods can be applied on rings on the fingers or toes. In case these methods fail to work, it is best to consult a doctor for removal.

Steps in removing a ring from a swelling finger or toe

First method

  • Do not attempt to force the ring from the finger or toe since this can cause the area to become more swollen which makes to more difficult for the ring to remove.
  • The individual should relax his/her hand or foot. Being in a relaxed state can oftentimes allow you to free the ring.
  • Raise the affected hand or foot to an elevated position if possible.

    Apply an ice pack around the affected area to minimize the swelling.

  • Apply an ice pack around the affected area to minimize the swelling. In case the ice does not work, try to pour soapy water or cooking oil on the area. Turn the ring as if it is being unscrewed rather than pulling it off directly.

Second method (string method)

  • Start by wrapping a thin piece of string such as dental floss from the side of the fingertip of the knuckle towards the ring.
  • Wrap the string in a snug manner. Remember that every wrap must be right next to the one before. Wrap up to the edge of the ring.
  • Place the end of the string below the ring. Hold the end under the ring and start to unwrap it. Push the ring along ahead of the unwrapping string while unwrapping so that it is eventually removed.

Remember that any hand injury is likely to result to swelling. If an individual uses rings on the affected hand, they should be removed as soon as possible before the swelling worsens.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on swelling is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how to remove rings from a finger or toe as part of first aid for swelling, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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