Ring tear and wedding ring injuries


Ring tear is a rare injury in which soft tissue, such as a ligament , tendon , or muscle, breaks in a finger when the ring is suddenly and accidentally removed. It is also called scaling and can cause a variety of problems, from minor bruising to damage to bones, blood vessels, ligaments, or nerves .

In rare and extreme cases, tearing off the ring can lead to toe amputation .

In the United States, there are only about 150,000 scaly mouth lesions each year. Only a small fraction of these are ring-related injuries. Most people will never experience ring breakage, but if you work in a job where you are more likely to get caught in the ring, you may be at risk.

This article looks at the causes, symptoms, and risks of ring breakage. Learn how it is diagnosed and treated, and how you can prevent this type of injury.

LLC "Vstok" / Getty Images

What is ring peel?

Ring tearing occurs when the ring is pressed against the finger and comes off.

It may appear that there is no damage, but the finger may be damaged under the skin. Sometimes during an accident, several layers of skin are torn off.

If the blood vessels are damaged, the blood supply to the surrounding tissues may be cut off. Severe cases may require surgery to repair blood vessels or tissues.

Symptoms of ring breakage

Tearing off the ring hurts. Skin damage and bleeding may occur, but this depends on the severity of the injury.

If your finger is not bleeding or damaged, look for other symptoms that may indicate internal damage:

  • Swelling of the entire toe
  • Discoloration: the finger may appear white or bruised.
  • Numbness and tingling in the finger.
  • Deformation: the finger can break or bend unnaturally.

When to see a doctor

You should check your finger every time a lift occurs, even if there appears to be no damage. Call 911 or have someone take you to an ambulance if you are bleeding a lot or if your finger is totally or partially disconnected.


Ring breakage is usually the result of an accident, such as a fall or equipment error.

Dramatic stories and research show that simple accidents can lead to serious injuries. Here are three real-life examples of ring break injuries:

  1. Surgery to restore blood flow: In 2015, comedian Jimmy Fallon spent 10 days in the intensive care unit due to having a ring ripped off. During the six-hour operation, the doctor performed a graft by removing a portion of a vein from Fallon's foot and placing it on his toe. This restored blood flow to the finger.
  2. Loss of a finger: A 2020 study reported the case of a machine operator whose wedding ring got caught in heavy machinery. His finger was not broken , but the tendon was severed from the bone and the blood supply was cut off. Unfortunately, the finger had to be amputated.
  3. Internal damage : In another incident, a man slipped on his boat. Her ring caught on the boat as she fell and hung on her finger for a few seconds. Although his finger only appeared to be bruised with a small cut, imaging tests showed damage to the nerves and blood vessels. He also underwent a vein transplant and 16 months of physical therapy to restore his full range of motion.


Doctors diagnose a ruptured ring using Kay's classification system. Rate injuries based on the amount of blood that has been lost. The following table lists the grades from least to greatest severity.

Class The severity of the separation
1 The blood supply to the finger is not interrupted, the bone is not damaged.
2 The blood supply is cut off, but there are no injuries.
3 Blood supply is cut off, bones or joints are damaged.
4-A The finger is amputated and the blood supply to the artery is cut off.
4-B The finger is amputated, the blood supply to the veins is cut off.

The main problem is blood flow to and from the finger. If the blood flow stops, you could lose your finger.

There is also the risk of arterial thrombosis, a blood clot in the artery . If this happened, it would stop the blood flow to the major organs.

Two tests are normally used to measure blood flow:

  • Arteriograms: This is a special type of X-ray that examines your arteries. This test is done by a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in imaging. Your arm will be numbed under local anesthesia or you will be euthanized under general anesthesia . A flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the artery. Releases a contrast dye that will show up on x-rays. This will reveal any breaks or problems in the blood vessels.
  • Ultrasound : This non-invasive test measures blood flow by reflecting high-frequency sound waves from red blood cells into veins and arteries. No anesthesia is required for this procedure.

Your finger should be examined by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hands.

Imaging tests are done to determine the degree of separation and the presence of blood flow obstructions.

Watch out

If you experience ring breakage, you should seek immediate medical attention, regardless of whether you think the injury is serious or not. Never underestimate the likelihood of blood loss.

Doctors have successfully treated serious injuries such as damaged blood vessels and torn tissue. However, in some very extreme cases, there is a risk of losing your fingers.

Follow the first aid tips to stop the bleeding and protect your finger from further damage.

First aid to break the ring.

If your finger is still intact and bleeding, apply pressure with gauze , a bandage, or a clean cloth, such as a T-shirt or towel.

Only remove the ring if it can slide easily without causing pain or injury. Forcing the ring out if the skin is swollen or peeling can aggravate the injury.

If your finger has been amputated:

  • Call 911 or have someone take you to an ambulance.
  • Press down to stop the bleeding and keep your arm raised.
  • Ask someone to help you wash your severed toe with clean water before you leave.
  • Wrap an amputated finger in dry gauze and place it in an airtight bag or waterproof container.
  • Keep your bag or container on ice until you get to the emergency room. Don't put your finger directly on the ice.


Ring break injuries generally require microvascular reconstruction surgery. For grade 1 injuries, doctors will focus on closing open wounds and repairing tendons or muscles. For grade 2 and above, a hand surgeon or plastic surgeon will use small instruments to reconnect the broken blood vessels and restore blood flow. Broken bones may also need to be repaired.

If the injury is grade 3, there is a chance that your finger will reattach. Before trying this, your surgeon will consider how much damage has been done to the soft tissue and how likely it is that function will return.

Whenever blood flow stops, there is a chance that the blood vessels may not function immediately after surgery. Even grade 2 avulsion injuries can have circulatory problems, requiring amputation.

An amputated grade 4 toe is much less likely to be reattached. However, there are things you can do to protect a peeled toe on the way to the hospital and increase the chances that a surgeon will be able to reattach it.


Tearing off the ring is serious business. Sometimes the skin is intact, but the internal ligaments, muscles, or even bones and blood vessels are damaged. If you don't get proper medical attention, your finger can be permanently disfigured or you can lose strength and mobility. In some cases, blood vessels can be destroyed, and if they cannot be repaired, a finger may need to be amputated.


There are steps you can take to prevent the ring from coming off. Some of them are already mandatory in the workplace.

Take off your rings

Remove rings before work, especially if your job involves rough or slippery conditions, heavy machinery, or anything that could cause a fall.

It's also wise to remove your rings before doing home or gardening renovations, exercising, exercising, or doing a hobby. This is especially important if you know that you are prone to accidents.

Wear a silicone ring

Silicone rings have become popular. These inexpensive straps are designed to break if caught on an object. Some brands combine precious metals with silicone to give them a sense of style and rarity. Others are created specifically for outdoor enthusiasts and people with an active lifestyle.


Ring break injuries are rare but can be very serious. They usually occur as a result of accidents in the workplace or during manual work. The ring catches on something and quickly pulls on the finger, causing anything from severe bruising to amputation.

Even if your finger appears normal, it is important to show it to your doctor. Do not delay medical attention. At the time of takeoff, you should call 911 and begin providing first aid immediately.

Get the word of drug information

Rings can be sentimental towards the wearer and, if appropriate, towards the donor. But if you think that you or your loved ones might have a ring ripped off, remember that the ring is never as important as the person wearing it.

Show your loved one that you care for their safety by asking them to remove the ring before work or by donating a silicone ring instead. If you want to make the change, you might consider asking your loved one to choose one to make it more meaningful.

Some people even think of getting a ring tattooed on their finger to avoid the risk altogether.

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