Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Painful Wrist after Injury Ring Removal

Remove rings immediately after a wrist injury, because it is difficult to remove the ring if the finger becomes swollen. Sometimes, the finger becomes so swollen that the ring must be removed with a ring cutter. The following will help you remove a ring from a swollen finger.

Ring Removal

  • Elevate the finger above the heart and apply a cold compress for 15-20 minutes.
  • Lubricate the ring:
    • Apply soapy water to the ring.
  • Ask another person to pull the skin tightly away from the ring, and then try to twist the ring off gently.
    • Stop if this causes pain or skin damage.
  • If this does not work, loop a piece of thin string or ribbon under the ring on both sides of the finger. Ask another person to grab the ends of both strings. Have the person pull equally on the ends of each string, while you gently twist the ring.

Reducing Finger Swelling
In order to reduce finger swelling, you may wrap a wide rubber band around the finger. Start at the tip of the finger and wrap towards the ring. Overlap the edges of the rubber band as you wrap the finger. After 5 minutes, remove the rubber band and try to remove the ring.

Do not wrap the finger with a rubber band if:

Seek medical care immediately for:

Continue to Painful Wrist after Injury Skin Wound

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Painful Wrist after Injury References
  1. De Schrijver F, De Smet L. Fracture of the hook of the hamate, often misdiagnosed as "wrist sprain". J Emerg Med. 2001 Jan;20(1):47-51. [11165838]
  2. Haims AH, Moore AE, Schweitzer ME, Morrison WB, Deely D, Culp RW, Forman HP. MRI in the diagnosis of cartilage injury in the wrist. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 May;182(5):1267-70. [15100130]
  3. Musharafieh RS, Macari G. Salter-Harris I fractures of the distal radius misdiagnosed as wrist sprain. J Emerg Med. 2000 Oct;19(3):265-70. [11033273]
  4. Oskam J, Kingma J, Klasen HJ. Fracture of the distal forearm: epidemiological developments in the period 1971-1995. Injury. 1998 Jun;29(5):353-5. [9813678]
  5. Staebler MP, Moore DC, Akelman E, Weiss AP, Fadale PD, Crisco JJ 3rd. The effect of wrist guards on bone strain in the distal forearm. Am J Sports Med. 1999 Jul-Aug;27(4):500-6. [10424221]
  6. Wollman S. Patient education series. Sprains and strains. Nursing. 2003 Sep;33(9):47. [14501515]
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