Online fashion shopping is fantastic, it's fast, convenient and I don't know about you, but things usually fit and so I rarely need to deal with returns. Sadly this may be a different story if you suffer from finger swelling and want to buy jewellery on a ring website. What do you do if you finger size changes over the course of a day even.
A ring website typically offers you rings in different sizes, you find out your size, perhaps using a ring sizer. You then select your size from the drop down and hey presto it lands on your doormat, fits perfectly and you both live happily ever after.
For those who experience finger swelling the fairytale can pan out differently. Sometimes the ring fits perfectly in the morning, but apply a bit of heat perhaps and you struggle to get it off your finger by the end of the day.
What causes finger swelling?
Rings don't shrink of course, fingers grow, sometimes at an alarming rate in a matter of hours. There are many causes of finger swelling, so lets explore them and any solutions.
You might not encounter this one very often unless you scale mountains on the daily, but I have personal experience of it. I've always had very skinny hands, but one day on a Duke of Edinburgh walking trip, I was very high up on a large mountain and experienced the effects of altitude.
When I got into my tent at the end of a long day ascending the mountain, I looked at my fingers and they were like sausages. I gasped “I look like the Nutty Professor!”
Climbing to higher altitudes can cause finger swelling, ankle swelling, and face swelling, otherwise known as edema. Edema is more common in women and scientists aren't sure why but think it's connected to hormones and menstrual cycles.
At higher altitudes our bodies adjust by increasing our heartbeat and urination. In addition the lower air pressure at high altitudes makes moisture from the skin and lungs evaporate faster. These factors contribute to reduced bodily liquid and hence higher levels of sodium in the body. High sodium levels cause the body to start retaining water in its cells – ie bloating and swelling.
Most people believe that eating too much salt can lead to water retention, bloating, and swelling. But did you know that the human body needs a certain amount of salt, and so not eating enough of it, can also lead to swelling. Complex stuff eh?!
Sodium levels can become too low when you drink lots of water, perhaps due to exercise, but do not have enough salt in your system to balance the liquid out. The term for this is hyponatremia, and one of its symptoms is bloating in the hands, feet, and finger swelling, as the excess water in your system enters your cells and causes them to swell.
Other signs of hyponatremia are headaches and confusion. If you're experiencing these symptoms and know you've taken on a lot of liquid, try balancing yourself out with a dash of salt.
When it comes to too much salt, this is yes well-known to cause finger swelling and bloat. When the salt levels in your body become too high your body retains water as it attempts to regain balance, this water is held in your tissues, including your fingers.
How much salt is enough? An adult should eat just under 6 g of salt per day, which is a teaspoon, of course if you're taking on lots of fluid due to activity, you may need to slightly adjust that. You should also pay close attention to all the hidden salts in processed food, and that includes bread, meat, baked beans and such like.
Environmental heat causes blood vessels to expand as they attempt to cool the body down. As the vessels dilate beneath the skin, fluid escapes from them into the surrounding tissues, causing them to swell.
When in a hot environment sodium levels can also come into play and add to the issue of finger swelling from expanding blood vessels. Pay attention to your sodium levels compared to your liquid intake while exposed to hot conditions, to maintain a good balance and avoid further swelling.
Older adults at are greater risk of developing heat edema, especially if they have existing circulatory conditions that contribute to swelling vessels when exposed to heat.
Finger swelling from edema usually corrects itself once the body has cooled down, but if you want to get your swelling down faster, here are some tips and tricks to try.
Ball your hand into a fist and stretch it out again, repeat this action a number of times. Moving your hands in this way aids circulation which can reduce swelling. Massaging your fingers will also improve blood flow.
Improve circulation and blood flow by elevating your hands, which can reduce your finger swelling faster than having them hanging by your sides.
An old favourite to reduce swelling, simply ice your hands and this will help to shrink your blood vessels back down to their normal size.
So basically we're saying in a heat related finger swelling emergency, pack your hands in ice, put them above your head and waggle your fingers back an forth like a maniac.
Stiffness, swelling and inflammation are the hallmarks of arthritis. Finger swelling from arthritis arises when inflamed blood cells enter a joint, causing it to feel warm and swell. The inflammatory molecules also cause fluid to collect around the joint, which further increases swelling.
Arthritis sufferers can gain some relieve from discomfort and by applying the same remedy you would for heat or altitude related swelling, by icing the area. In some cases warmth works better.
Arthritis can affect the fingers but also other joints such as wrists, elbows, ankles, feet, and hips. Those who suffer from finger swelling caused by arthritis will find buying rings on a ring website challenging and should consider adjustable rings.
Another common purchase for arthritis sufferers are copper rings, and those are available as adjustable open rings. Many people swear by copper rings to ease the symptoms of arthritis, however there is no medical evidence to support the notion that wearing copper on the afflicted area will minimise symptoms.
Copper rings are beautiful jewellery pieces in their own right, and your best bet in terms of them helping with arthritis is to buy an adjustable copper ring to offer greater comfort over swollen areas, and not expect the properties of copper itself to ease the swelling or pain of arthritis.
Certain medications can cause finger swelling, these include the following.
Hormones – estrogen found in oral contraceptives or HRT (hormone replacement therapy, often prescribed to those going through the menopause) and testosterone.
Steroids – Not only for body builders, steroids are an anti-inflammatory medicine also prescribed for a range of conditions such as joint issues, for use in inhalers for asthma sufferers, for hay fever, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and more.
Antidepressants – Use of mood enhancing antidepressants can lead to edema, and those include medications such as tranylcypromine, phenelzine, ertraline, mirtazapine and others. Speak to your doctor to discuss the potential side effects of your antidepressant medication.
Foods that minimise finger swelling
One of the most common causes of edema and finger swelling is of course edema, which is fluid retention caused by a variety of situations. Aside from the edema remedy advice given above you can reduce finger swelling by making specific food choices.
A high sodium diet is of course one of the causes of edema, and so you should select foods which are low in sodium and bear in mind the rule of no more than 6 g of sodium per day (1 teaspoon). Hidden sodium is probably the real issue for most people, and so bear in mind that when you're eating crisps, bacon, pizza, deli meats and such like, these foods are absolutely steeped in sodium.
So what foods are low sodium and help to counteract the effects of water retention?
Dandelion – a natural diuretic, did you know that you can add dandelion greens to a salad?
Fruit and veg – These work well simply due to their high water content, helping you to balance out the sodium in your system. Eat more vegetables than fruit, because though fruit is a natural sugar, it's still a sugar and therefore excesses of it can still be unhealthy.
Celery and fennel – another natural diuretic, these also make a great addition to a salad.
Ginger – an amazing root spice with many benefits aside from reducing finger swelling, also great for digestion and reducing inflammation. You could grate this into your favourite food, it goes wonderfully in a Thai green curry for instance.
How to remove a tight ring
Sometimes your finger swelling becomes so severe, that a ring that once fit is now completely stuck on your finger. Trying to twist it off by force is not advised, as wrenching at your finger creates even more swelling!
There are solutions to a stuck ring, it's not time to get out the metal cutters just yet.
If on first attempt a ring appears firmly stuck, do not become forceful and create more swelling, lubricate the area before continuing. Good lubricants for this purpose include Vaseline, window cleaners (weird, I know), hand lotion, butter, cooking oil, and soapy water. Apply your lubricant of choice and gently twist the ring around on your finger until released.
You already know that edema caused by too much sodium, not enough sodium, or from heat can be alleviated by elevating your hand. In addition you can ice the area to reduce expanded blood vessels if you suspect that heat is at play.
Use a string
With this method of removing a stuck ring you use a string, dental floss or ribbon to easily remove your ring. This is difficult to explain verbally and so I think a video will be useful for you, which you can watch below.
Drastic ring removal measures
If none of the methods are working, and in particular if you're experiencing pain and notable pressure on your finger, it's probably time to consider cutting the ring off. It is not recommended you attempt to cut the ring off yourself, as this is hazardous and best performed by a qualified professional.
If there is pain, tingling sensations or skin discolouration on the finger, get in touch with a health care professional straight away. Health care professionals can safely removing stuck rings and that includes cutting the off for you.
It's easy for a hospital to cut a gold or silver ring off your finger in an emergency, using manual or electric cutters.
Hospitals recommend against wearing newly popular titanium rings because the metal is so tough, hospital staff have found it very difficult to cut titanium rings using conventional cutters. This could become dangerous in an emergency and as a lack of blood supply to your finger continues, it could cost you the finger.
Don't worry about the ring itself, cut rings made out of precious materials such as gold or sterling silver are repairable. An experienced jeweler will be able to solder the cut area of the ring together again and make it as good as new.
Buy adjustable rings from a ring website
Beyond all the advice I've given, another answer is to avoid wrestling with set ring sizes or stuck rings in the first place. Do you know that adjustable rings are a thing?
Instead of visiting a ring website and selecting a ring based on how it looks only, why not buy for practicality also? Use a search bar to search for 'adjustable ring', 'open ring' or 'wrap ring' to bring up options that address the issue of finger swelling.
While you can minimise finger swelling in some cases, there are lots of beautiful adjustable rings available to buy, so why not consider those instead? Check these beauties out below from our own ring website. We have many rings in stock to select from.