I injure my hands and fingers all the time. Knuckles get bruised, fingernails pinched, you name it — our hands take a beating. Sounds kind of silly, but if you’ve ever had a finger or a hand out of commission, even for a day, you know just how vital they are.
In a survival situation, this type of “minor” injury can literally mean life or death. And it’s often the little things that matter BIG. When my wedding ring was digging into the meat of my finger it hit me.
If I was out in the wild and this ring got much tighter, I’d be S.O.L. (sh!t out of luck). So I started looking for solutions I could manage myself, but without cutting the ring off (and making things worse by cutting into my finger). That’s when I found the 3 clever ER tips that work like gangbusters!
I wanted to share with you what I’ve found:
Bear in mind, these cool tricks are for the SERIOUSLY stuck rings! Those rings that are not going to budge.
Duct Take to Remove a Stuck Ring
The first tip uses material every prepper will have handy – duct tape.
Tear off a 1/2″ wide strip of duct tape about one foot long. Turn the sticky side towards itself, folding it in half the long way to make a one-foot-long strip that isn’t sticky.
You’re going to use this strip to wrap around your finger, so it’s important to the sticky side folded over onto itself, so it’s not sticky on the “outside” anymore.
Tuck a long piece of the strip under the ring toward your palm, about three or four inches should do, so the 3 ” strip is in your hand and the longer part of the strip is dangling from under the ring.
Then wrap the longer part of the strip tightly around the finger just below the ring. Continue wrapping down the finger until you have wrapped it below the knuckle.
You want this to be tight enough to help move some of the swellings away from the knuckle.
In all three videos, they make a big deal about the wrap is really tight around the knuckle and finger.
Grab the short end of the tape sticking under your ring, that’s in your palm, get a good grip, and PULL down. As you pull the tape you’re unwrapping the tape from your finger while sliding the ring free.
This works because first, the tape makes your finger more narrow. Second, it makes the transition over the knuckle smaller. Third, it corkscrews the ring off.
Here’s the full video:
Ring removal technique from ER Doctor
The next tip is from an ER doctor who uses the elastic strap from an oxygen mask to remove the stuck-on ring. Although we might not have O2 masks laying around and handy, a heavier-gauge elastic band might work just as well.
The doctor inserts one end of the band under the stuck ring, in the direction of the palm (he uses tweezers to feed the elastic under the ring), then pulls the elastic band so there’s a few inches free on the palm side.
Then he tightly wraps the band around the finger, down over the knuckle, continuing down the finger until below the knuckle. The doctor says the big advantage of the band is it continues to compress the finger as it moves swelling down the finger, while the other materials like duct tape don’t.
Next pull on the short end of the elastic that’s sticking out above the ring. You want to pull out and down to unwrap the finger and free the ring.
Here’s the video:
Lastly, this same technique has been used with dental floss.
Remove Ring with Dental Floss
Though this does seem like the most painful of the three (at least from watching the videos), but it seems to work very well for this gentleman.
He gets a ring off that’s been “stuck on there for more than 10 years!”
But the dental floss does cut into his fingers a little. Maybe go with the duct tape or elastic, first.
And lastly, as an example of probably what not to do, I found this video.
It’s titled “Ugly Fail Win,” with a warning that you’re going to hear this guy screaming in pain as he struggles (for 30 min!) to get this wedding ring off, so you get the idea.
For the just-barely stuck rings, Windex, or an alcohol wipe applied to the finger and then blowing on the finger can help shrink the finger diameter just enough to get the ring off.
Also lubricants like hand lotion or sudsy soap on the finger while twisting and jiggling the ring can sometimes work for the minimally stuck rings. Make sure to get the lubricant entirely around the finger and inside the ring to work properly.
One suggestion didn’t make much sense to me: submerging the finger in ice water, as the ring might contract just like the skin on the finger. But maybe if the swelling happens all of a sudden, like from a bug bite?
Not sure, but freezing my finger wasn’t too appealing, so I continued to search and found the solutions above.
What’s your favorite method?