Fingers swollen or enlarged knuckles? Ring doesn’t fit snuggly?

Luxury Jewellery
diamond ring

There are many reasons for enlarged knuckles, and why someone’s fingers would become swollen causing a ring be too tight.

Weight gain

Weight gain is probably the most common reason for feeling that your fingers are swollen. The causes of gaining weight are not exhausted, but almost everyone can gain weight by either increasing their calorie intake, taking medication, becoming less active or as they get older in years. If a person whose weight regularly fluctuates, the problem of getting the right sized ring can be very bothersome.


Arthritis is a condition that can be caused by wear and tear of the joints known as osteoarthritis, or by having a chronic arthritic disease. One of the more noticeable symptoms of arthritis is inflammation. This causes the joints of the fingers to swell and become tender as it restricts the blood flow to the finger. In turn, this can make wearing rings very uncomfortable.

Another symptom of some arthritic conditions is enlarged knuckles. This can occasionally make it impossible to put on, or remove a ring, and can be very frustrating. Sometimes it is not always apparent that a ring has become too tight, or is not easily removed, and when left, it may become impossible to take off without cutting it off.

The weather

The weather affects fingers and can make them expand and shrink. If the climate is cold the hand usually shrinks, and worn rings may indeed become loose and drop off. When in a warm or humid climate, blood vessels expand to allow heat to escape through your skin, this then causes the hand to swell and a ring on the finger can suddenly become too tight.

diamond engagement rings for 2017


Some medical conditions can make the hands swell. The condition known as Edema causes excess fluid to become trapped in the body’s tissues. It commonly affects legs, ankles, feet, arms and hands. Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy, or an underlying disease — often heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver. Therefore, this condition can be short or long term.


Sometimes when a finger has been broken, in the short term it will be swollen, and in the long term can be left with a deformity, and placing a ring over the finger knuckle can be painful or impossible.

Temporarily swollen fingers

If fingers swell up only occasionally, most people just live with it. Temporarily removing rings is probably the easiest solution. But not everyone is comfortable with this, and as it is only short term would rather put up with the discomfort and inconvenience.

Wearing a ring too tight may at times cause some skin irritation under the ring as it traps moisture between the ring and finger. One main cause of this is by not drying under the ring after washing hands. So, once hands have been washed, rinse away any soap residue and dry away trapped water from under the ring. This will ensure that the skin covered by rings does not become sore or cause an irritation. Providing the ring does not restrict blood flow to the fingers, no real harm should be done.

Should the swelling of fingers become a regular occurrence, it may be worth considering having a ring made slightly too big and finding a temporary solution to tighten it around the finger.

diamond cluster rings

Some temporary solutions

Available at some jewellers or online

Split vinyl tube

Attach a transparent split vinyl tube to the lower part of the ring shank. These are known as ring snugs, snuggies or ring size reducers. They usually come in packs and have different sizes to accommodate different sizes and shapes of rings.

Rind size adjuster

A ring size reducer guard folds around the inside of a ring band. These can usually be purchased in different sizes to suit, and are available in gold or silver colour.

Home improvised solutions…

Waterproof tape and nail polish

Cut a strip of waterproof first aid tape across the width of the tape ensuring it is slightly narrower than the ring. Peel the tape off the plaster and stick to the ring shank. Depending on the looseness of the ring you may require to stick tape all around the inside of the shank or to stick a double thickness around. Try for size, and if it feels okay, apply clear nail polish over the top and to the sides of the tape. Allow to dry overnight and the ring is ready to wear. This is a method which will last some time before having to redo it again.

single stone engagement ring


Apply food safe pure silicone adhesive to the inside of the ring. This adhesive comes in different colours, so be certain to purchase a clear one. Ensure the ring is clean and dry, then apply to the inner shank making sure it doesn’t go near to where stones have been set. Because metal is nonporous, the silicone is ultimately removable. Allowing the silicone to cure fully is crucial. If the ring is worn when the outside is dry but the silicone still looks foggy, it will probably come loose in just a few days. By allowing it to cure until it’s fully clear (which can be overnight or longer) creates a layer that can stay in place for weeks. This type of silicone can be easily removed by scraping it with the fingernail.

Cotton or dental floss

Wrap cotton or dental floss at the base of the shank for a snug fit. This method isn’t great, as the cotton or floss can absorb moisture and tends to break the thread easily.

Permanently swollen fingers or enlarged finger knuckles.

Naturally slim fingers and large knuckles, a previous injury to the finger, or maybe one of the 10 million people in the UK suffering from some form of arthritis will need a more permanent solution to get a ring to fit correctly.

Some permanent solutions

Insert small beads

Purchase a ring which is too loose for the finger but can just about squeeze over the knuckle. A jeweller can then solder two small beads or mounds of precious metal to the base of the ring shank. These beads will help the ring to fit snuggly around the finger and prevent it from spinning round. This is effective and comfortable for most and is also a popular and affordable option.

“Horseshoe, leaf, butterfly” Spring bar

Again, purchase a ring slightly too big for the finger. A jeweller can then weld a thin flat strip of precious metal to the lower inside part of the ring shank creating a spring. Once the ring is over the knuckle the spring tightens a creates a snug fit at the base of the finger. With this option, if the ring is removed frequently it can be somewhat irritating to the finger and if not correctly installed it can easily crack.

Channel eternity ring with matching engagement ring
Channel eternity ring with matching engagement ring

Expandable and adjustable shank

Expandable shanks are a great solution for converting a ring that doesn’t fit over enlarged knuckles. They have a hinged expandable shank which opens up, and then snaps closed around the base of the finger for a comfortable and secure fit. This type of shank is probably more suitable to someone who doesn’t remove their ring very often as taking the ring on and off regularly irritates the skin.

Adjustable shanks are a high-end choice. They have a hinge and latch system which allows the ring to be completely opened, thereby passing over the knuckle and closing snuggly at the base of the finger. These types of shanks are usually custom made and are probably more beneficial to someone who needs to remove their ring quite regularly.

These options are suitable for not only a newly purchased ring but one that has been resized also, providing that shank is suitable.

About Juliet

Juliet has gained over six years of knowledge working in the broker and trade areas of the jewellery industry. She loves to create articles for the Diamonds Please blog which helps customers and anyone else who is interested in the world of jewellery. Juliet is also a professional jewellery photographer.