5 Ring Avulsion Injury Statistics and What to Do If It Happens to You
We’ve talked about ring avulsion before on our blog. Lots of people ask us, “What is ring avulsion?” In short, it’s a pretty name for a very ugly medical accident that could change your life.
Ring avulsion is when your traditional metal rings get caught on something and aren’t able to move with your body. The result can be anything from a bad rub to an amputated finger. Since most of us use our hands every day for everything from hugging our kids to earning our livelihood, losing a finger is a big deal! Here are five key facts about ring avulsion injuries – and how to survive them.
1. There are three classes of injury.
Just like a sunburn and a chemical burn have different degrees of significance, ring avulsion can range from minor to major injury. If you wind up with ring avulsion, the first thing that doctors will do is grade your injury according to Urbaniak classification.
Class I- Blood is still actively working through your hand and the injured finger. Repair and aid may be as simple as basic tissue or bone repair.
Class II- Blood is no longer moving through your finger. A surgeon will likely be called in to reconnect blood vessels within your finger before attempting to repair any tissue or bone damage.
Class III- The most serious of avulsion injuries, in this case, your finger has been stripped of at least the tissue surrounding the bone. This can include nerve damage and sometimes includes accidental amputation. A surgeon will assess if your finger can be saved, or if it must be amputated. If reattached, be prepared for a finger that may not function as well as it once did.
2. This isn't a quick heal injury.
How long does an avulsion take to heal? Depending on the class and severity of your injury, know that you could have several months of healing ahead of you. Even lower grade injuries incur lengthy heal times. On average, expect to take five to 10 weeks to recover from ring avulsion. Physical therapy is often prescribed as well and can last many months.
3. Ring avulsion is rare.
Is this a scary injury? Absolutely. But is it happening to two out of five people on the street? No. Ring avulsion has been getting a lot of attention since Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon shared his story of getting his ring caught on a rug after he tripped in his own home. The injury was intense and nearly cost Jimmy his finger, but it’s not a common injury. In fact, most reports suggest that only about 150,000 incidents of ring avulsion are reported per year.
4. This injury doesn’t discriminate.
Plenty of people think that the only people at risk for avulsion are those in extreme careers. People like police officers, firefighters, members of the military, construction workers and professional athletes come to mind first. But what is important to know is that no one is safe from this injury. If you wear rings, you’re at risk.
5. Ring avulsion is preventable.
If there is any good news surrounding ring avulsion, it is that it’s an injury that you can largely prevent. While wearing no rings on your fingers at all is the best line for prevention, we understand that in our culture that is largely unrealistic. People prefer rings to showcase their commitment, or as fashion. So, if you can’t remove all rings, your best bet is to choose the right rings. Experts agree that silicone rings are your best line of defense against ring avulsion.
So, do silicone rings REALLY prevent ring avulsion?
The right ones do, yes. When you choose a high-quality silicone ring, a ring-like QALO, you can feel assured that the ring is tough. You can also feel confident that, when placed under extreme stress, the ring is tough enough to break free of your finger. When we talk about extreme stress, we’re not talking about lifting weights in the gym. We’re talking about having your ring snag on a moving object or other extreme conditions that could cost you a finger.
If a ring injury happens to you, and if your finger is detached, call 9-1-1 right away. It’s a good idea to wash the amputated finger with water, place it in a bag, and place the bag in a second bag – that one filled with ice. Never put the amputated finger directly in an ice bath. If your finger is still attached, keep it elevated to reduce swelling and blood loss.
For more information on ring avulsion, take a look at this in-depth blog post.