Ring Avulsion And How To Avoid It

Ring Avulsion And How To Avoid It

Chances are you’ve never looked at your wedding band and saw it as being dangerous or something that could harm you in a potentially life-changing way, right?

Well, rings that you wear can cause something that’s known as ring avulsion, which is especially of concern if you work as a firefighter or in another labor-intensive career.

What, exactly, is ring avulsion?

Ring avulsion is when your ring gets snagged on something and it forcefully pulls your finger so hard that it can break off. It can cause massive damage to the tendons, bones, soft tissue, skin, and blood vessels, and sometimes requires amputation.

Ring avulsion is a really tragic injury that you don’t want to have happen to you. So, with that in mind, let’s look deeper into ring avulsion and how you can protect yourself so that your ring doesn’t become a dangerous object.  

How Does Ring Avulsion Happen?

Ring avulsion tends to happen when you’re working with a fast-moving object, such as machinery.

So, if your ring gets caught on the machine, it can rip your finger off, painfully tearing away the tissue from your bone. You’ve probably heard of these horror stories and probably heaved a sigh of relief that you don’t work with heavy machinery.

But it’s a total misconception to think that only people who work with heavy machinery are at risk of ring avulsion. It can happen to anyone, even when you’re at home.

For example, if you’re working on the roof and the ring on your finger catches on something as you miss your step and fall down, the pressure placed on your finger can cause it to break it.

Another example of how a ring avulsion can happen is if you’re shooting hoops in the backyard when your ring snags on the hoop. Basically, whenever your ring can get caught on something, it can lead to a ring avulsion injury.

Is Ring Avulsion Common?

While it’s devastating, ring avulsion isn’t that common. However, it is usually serious.

Many people who experience a ring avulsion need to have their fingers amputated. Ring avulsion is responsible for 150,000 amputations and degloving in the U.S. every year. It also makes up five percent of all upper limb injuries, as OrthoBullets reports.

What Is “Degloving?”

If you’ve heard about ring avulsion you’ve probably heard about degloving, mainly because the two are linked. When your finger is caught on something and it gets broken or ripped off, the pressure of the ring can strip your finger’s tissues as well as bones, muscles, and tendons.

As you know, that’s what ring avulsion is, but the actual stripping of those parts of the finger is known as degloving. So, while degloving is pretty much the same injury as a ring avulsion, it’s the most serious kind of it.

What Do You Do If You’ve Got Ring Avulsion?

It’s a shock to experience a ring avulsion, but knowing how to deal with it can make a difference in saving your finger.

Although it’s not a nice thing to think about sustaining this injury, you want to be prepared for the worst. So, here’s what you should do if you experience a ring avulsion.

  • Don’t delay in seeking medical attention, such as by getting someone to drive you to the hospital or calling an ambulance as soon as the injury happens. Even if your finger is still attached to your hand, you can’t ride this one out because you don’t know what internal damage has been caused by the injury and you need to get it checked out by a doctor to prevent lasting damage. While many ring avulsion injuries won’t seem serious when you look at your finger, the internal injury can be much, much worse. This can include blood vessels in the finger having suffered damage, and can result in your finger losing its blood supply.
  • If your finger is still attached to your hand, apply pressure to it to stop the bleeding. Wrap the finger with bandages. Make sure you keep your hand elevated to reduce swelling and bring blood away from your finger. 
  • If your finger has been detached from your hand, wash it with clean water and put moist gauze around it. Then, put it in a sealed bag. Ice the finger until you get to the hospital, but avoid putting the ice directly onto the finger, Healthline reports.

Common Symptoms Of Ring Avulsion

Besides the possibility of your finger being ripped off, and the blood flowing from it, ring avulsion can also present with other symptoms. These include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness and/or bruising
  • Tingling and numbness along the finger

How Serious Are Ring Avulsion Injuries?

When you get to the hospital, doctors will be able to tell how serious the ring avulsion is based on the three categories they use for defining injuries. These are:

  • Class 1 Injuries

When it comes to ring avulsion, these injuries mean that your blood’s still circulating through your finger. To repair your finger, doctors will need to repair the tissues and bones.

  • Class 2 Injuries

This is when blood isn’t circulating in your finger. Your blood vessels have been damaged during the injury and will need to be reconnected. This will be the first thing doctors do before they can attend to the other parts of your finger that have been injured, such as the bone or tissue.

  • Class 3 Injuries

If your finger has been ripped off your hand, this is a Class 3 injury. Another example would be if your finger’s tissue has been ripped off down to the bone. Your surgeon might be able to reattach the finger, but even after a successful surgery you might not be able to regain the full function of your finger.

There’s also a much milder form of ring avulsion that can occur. This is known as a contusion. It’s when the ring bruises the tissues in your finger or even injures your blood vessels, but it’s nothing serious.

To find out just how serious your ring avulsion injury is, doctors will conduct tests. These include careful examination by a hand specialist, as well as tests that will check the blood circulation in your finger, such as ultrasounds and arteriograms.

Will You Need A Finger Cast?

If the bones in your finger were broken during the ring avulsion accident, you might be given a cast to wear for several weeks. This will help the bones to reset themselves.

How Long Will It Take A Ring Avulsion Injury To Heal?

Ring Avulsion And How To Avoid It

The time it takes for your ring avulsion injury to heal will obviously depend on how severe the injury was. However, you could find that you heal between five and 10 weeks.

If your nerves were harmed during the injury, you might find that you battle to feel pressure and temperature as well as you used to before the accident.

If you suffered tendon or bone injuries, you might not have the same range of motion that you used to have, but you can be assisted with occupational therapy. 

How Much Pressure Can Your Fingers Handle?

Your hands and fingers feel strong because you put them under a lot of strain on a regular basis and they never let you down. Just think of everything you do with your hands every day. You carry heavy groceries and lift heavy weights, while doing lots of other things.

Although your hands feel like they can handle a lot of pressure, it’s important to realize that the skin covering them is not invincible. Although it’s strong, it can’t handle too much force being applied to it.

Research that was published in the Journal of Hand Surgery, and which looked at the biomechanics of ring avulsion, found that even less than 18 pounds of pressure or force placed on a finger could result in a Class 1 avulsion injury!

By comparison, 35 pounds of force could cause a serious Class 3 injury which usually results in the person’s finger needing to be amputated.  

How To Prevent Ring Avulsion

While being completely focused on whatever task you’re doing is always important to ensure that you avoid distractions and stay safe, freak and sudden accidents can still happen.

That’s why you should follow important tips to prevent ring avulsion from affecting you. Here are some to bear in mind.  

  • Always make sure you’re wearing a ring that fits you properly. It should be snug on your finger without being too tight. If your ring is loose, it’s more likely to snag on an item and pull your finger. Bear in mind, also, that metal rings will sometimes shrink or expand based on the temperature. You might find that your ring feels like it’s jiggling around more when the temperature drops. Take this into consideration so that you don’t put yourself at risk by wearing a loose ring.
  • If you’re a woman who has stones in the setting of her metal ring, these usually have prongs to keep them in place. But these prongs are dangerous because they can snag on things really easily. The safest thing to do is leave your ring at home so that you can’t snag it on anything when you’re involved in activities.
  • Whether you’re a man or woman, remove your wedding band or other rings before you handle heavy machinery, do DIY work around the house, play sport, use exercise equipment, and so on. It’s always best to be safe instead of sorry!
  • Choose softer rings. Metal rings are inflexible and won’t break if you snag them on an object. This is a problem because they will break your finger instead. This is why it’s much safer to purchase silicone rings.

Why Silicone Rings Are Safer Than Metal Rings

There are many good reasons why you should wear silicone rings instead of metal rings, especially if you want to keep your finger safe from harm.

Whether you choose to wear silicone rings instead of metal rings, or you decide to wear your silicone ring at certain times when you don’t feel it’s safe to wear metal, here are some of the benefits associated with silicone.

  • Silicone rings can stretch. They stretch easily, therefore accommodating your finger. This makes them more comfortable to wear and they won’t feel stiff or get in the way if you’re doing an activity with your hands. Even the silicone rings that look very similar to metal are really lightweight while being flexible.  
  • Silicone rings and wedding bands are strong but not rigid. They’re strong so they won’t break with daily wear, but if they get caught on something they will break and leave your finger unharmed. This is important because it will prevent your finger from getting injured or ripped off. If your silicone ring breaks, it’s not a problem to replace it because these rings tend to be much cheaper than rings that are made out of metal. But that’s a moot point because it’s much better to lose a ring instead of a finger!
  • Silicone rings can withstand a lot of pressure. As long as you purchase a silicone ring that’s made by a quality brand, you’re guaranteed of the ring being able to handle a lot of pressure before it breaks. For example, you can find silicone rings that can deal with up to 17 pounds of pressure, or others that can handle up to 22 pounds of pressure before they snap. If you’re worried about ring avulsion and you regularly put your hands at risk of being injured, it’s a good idea to choose a silicone ring that will break with less pressure put on it.
  • Silicone rings keep your fingers safe in other ways. The problem with metal rings is that they’re heat conductive, so if they get very hot they can burn your finger. Silicone rings aren’t conductive, which means that if you’re working with heat or electricity, your ring won’t transfer that heat or electricity to your finger.
  • While a ring avulsion is a horrific injury that fills you with dread, the good news is that it can be completely prevented. The two main risk factors for ring avulsions are working with machinery and wearing a ring, as OrthoBullets reports. This means that simply avoiding wearing a ring when you’re working with your hands can help you to decrease the risk of sustaining this type of injury.

No matter how often you use your hands, you don’t have to risk ring avulsion. It’s empowering to remember that!

So, if you don’t have a silicone ring that’s safe to wear daily, leave your metal rings at home. Don’t think that ring avulsion can’t happen to you. It can happen to anyone, and if you lose your finger, you won’t be able to wear the ring you love so much.

Some married people worry about not wearing their wedding bands and rings because they want to show the world they’re committed to their partners. If this is a concern for you, it could be a good idea to have two rings: one that’s made of metal and one that’s made of silicone.

When you need to work with your hands, opt for the silicone one. When you’re at home relaxing, wear your traditional wedding band. The great thing about silicone bands is that they come in a variety of colors and styles to suit your needs.  

Related Questions

Did Jimmy Fallon have a ring avulsion?

Back in 2015, celebrity Jimmy Fallon said that his wedding ring caught on the edge of the table when he fell and he needed massive surgery that lasted for six hours so that surgeons could prevent his finger from being amputated. He wore a cast on his finger for many weeks.

What are the dangers of wearing a ring that’s too tight?

Tight rings can cut off the blood circulation in your finger and prevent the skin on your finger from being able to breathe. In extreme cases, the ring has to be cut off by a doctor. If you experience ring avulsion with a tight ring on, this can cause severe damage.

Conclusion

Ring avulsion is a horrific injury that can result in you losing your finger. However, it can be easily prevented by ensuring you don’t wear a ring that can catch on an object and rip your finger off.

This is why it’s so important to ensure that you remove your jewelry before you take part in various activities, such as exercise and sports, as well as when operating heavy machinery.

In this article, we’ve looked at everything you need to know about ring avulsion injuries, including how different injuries are categorized, how they can be treated, as well as what you can do to prevent them. Your fingers do so much for you on a daily basis. They’re precious so look after them!

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