Worth repeating (again): Getting a ring off a swollen finger

18 January 2021

In December 2014, I didn’t let a broken wrist stop me from supervising a move for a favorite client couple. I must live a charmed life, because the husband in this couple is a hand surgeon. My finger was swelling around my precious heirloom wedding band and he took took the time to use his acumen to remove it so that I didn’t have to have it cut off. Here’s how he did it.

On the evening of December 3, 2014, I fell and broke my wrist, though I didn’t know immediately that it was fractured. That night, I took my engagement ring off, but my wedding wasn’t moving and I (stupidly) left it on.

The next morning, I went to urgent care and had the wrist x-rayed. For whatever reason, the urgent care doctor and nurse were unconcerned about my ring.

The following day, I left to supervise a three-day move-in for a client in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. (A couple of hours from St. Louis.) Thankfully, my wonderful team made my injured wrist irrelevant to the success of our job. But it really hurt that first day. And part of the reason for the pain was that my finger was swelling around my ring.

I was really fortunate because the husband of the couple we were moving is Dr. Andrew Trueblood, a hand surgeon with Advanced Orthopedic Specialists in Cape Girardeau. When he came home from work at the end of that first day, he took one look at my hand and rewrapped the bandage around the splint, which provided some instant relief. Then he said, “We have to get that ring off.”

Here’s a photo of my rewrapped wrist, showing how the wedding band was squeezing the life out of my finger.

Removing a ring from a swollen finger

For a half hour, he worked on getting my ring off, telling me that if we weren’t successful it would have to be cut off. I really didn’t want to have my precious ring cut off. It’s a family heirloom: My great grandmother, Alice Jeffries, wore it for 70 years. And I’ve worn it for another 25.

Andrew’s efforts paid off, and I am so grateful for his skill and attention. I wanted to share here the technique he used, in case you ever find yourself in need of getting a ring off your finger

Step one: Wrap the finger in dental floss.

Over and over Andrew wrapped and rewrapped my finger with dental floss so it looked like a mummy. He said this would reduce the swelling. He did it for probably 25 minutes.

Using dental floss to remove a ring from a swollen finger

Step two: Get the dental floss under the ring

Since Andrew’s house was still packed (the movers had just brought their stuff to the new house), his access to tools was limited. After he unwrapped my finger for the last time, he patiently used the tines of a plastic fork to ease a strand of floss under the ring, going from of the top of my finger toward my wrist.

Step three: Make the finger slippery

We had some liquid soap on hand, and Andrew soaped up my finger.

Step four: Pull the dental floss

By pulling on the floss and allowing it to go round and round my finger, the ring was slowly eased off. As it was happening, I turned on my phone’s video camera so I could record the last 30 seconds of this miracle. Be sure and watch it to the end to get a glimpse of Andrew.

I am amazed by my good fortune in finding myself in the home of someone who could ease my pain so effectively after this accident. I am grateful to the patience of Andrew and his wife, Amy, and, of course, to my outstanding team that weekend. We got them moved into their gorgeous home without letting a fractured wrist get in the way.

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I’ve had my wedding ring stuck on my finger thanks to weight gain. This process looks a little different from anything else I’ve seen so I want to try it. One question: after he wraps and unwraps the floss, then tucks it under the ring, doe he tie a little knot in it? It looks like it’s knotted so it’s a little band around the ring.

Dee 02/15/2021 11:44 AM

I don't think he knotted it!

Janine Adams 02/15/2021 12:11 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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