If you have worn a wedding ring/band for a long time, then you know that some days the ring will feel tighter than others.
Even more common is that throughout the course of one day you might feel the ring get tighter as you wear it.
But is the ring really getting tighter?
Rings can feel tighter due to finger swelling. This occurs because of hot weather, exercise, fluid retention, arthritis, and hormonal changes. Solutions include applying ice, elevating the hand, taking medication, changing your diet, and/or getting your ring resized.
The daily changes that our fingers go through can result in your wedding ring/band feeling tighter.
In most situations, the swelling will be minimal and go back to normal shortly but sometimes you need to intervene and get the ring resized altogether.
Reasons Your Wedding Band Feels Tight
1. Change In Temperature
One of the most common reasons that our fingers change size is because of temperature changes.
When we are in cold environments, we lose body heat from our skin.
To reserve that heat and protect our core, our body will constrict blood vessels and reduce the amount of blood flow to our skin and extremities.
This is called vasoconstriction. Since there is less blood in our extremities, our fingers (and toes) will shrink a bit.
Thus, the ring will fit a bit more loosely on your hand and might be at risk of falling off.
What causes our rings to feel tighter is when we are in warm environments.
In this case, the body wants to keep the core cool and will perform the opposite reaction called vasodilation.
In an attempt to dissipate heat through the skin, we sweat and our blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow. Doing this releases excess heat from our bodies through our skin.
With the increase of blood to all extremities, our fingers (and toes) expand.
Depending on how hot your body has gotten, the swelling could be barely noticeable or your fingers can visibly change size which will definitely make any rings feel much tighter.
Arthritis causes wear and tear on your joints, frequently in fingers.
A specific type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, causes inflammation in your joints which then causes your fingers to swell and become very tender.
This condition commonly creates uncomfortable tightness around rings.
3. Physical Activity
When we are physically active, our bodies tend to go through the same process as when it’s too hot outside (vasodilation).
Exercise causes our muscles to generate heat, which triggers sweat and an increase in blood flow and thus results in swelling fingers and tight rings.
4. Fluid Retention (Edema)
When your body retains a lot of water, you may feel bloated and experience swelling (not just in your fingers).
The medical term for fluid build-up in extremities is edema.
This is mainly caused by consuming large amounts of sodium (salt) in your diet.
However, certain medications, allergic reactions, congestive heart failure, liver disease, and kidney disease can cause it too.
Fluid retention can also be caused by lymphedema.
This occurs when your lymph nodes are not circulating lymph fluid properly, causing a blockage that builds up fluid in your extremities.
Along with swollen extremities, lymphedema can cause discoloration of the skin, blisters, and fluid leakage.
5. Hormonal Changes
For women, menstruation and pregnancy are frequent reasons for bloating and swelling throughout the body.
Any time there is an increase in hormones such as estrogen or progesterone, you can experience finger swelling.
In pregnancy, the body produces 50% more blood and bodily fluids which causes major swelling in the hands and feet.
Solutions for a Tight Ring
1. Apply Ice
For whatever reason your fingers have swollen, applying ice is a great way to reduce inflammation.
You can either hold ice pressed to your finger(s) for 10-15 minutes or soak your finger(s) in a cup of ice water for the same amount of time.
As previously explained, cold temperatures constrict the size and amount of blood that goes to our extremities, thus reducing swelling.
2. Keep Your Hand Elevated
Gravity is a factor in keeping your extremities swollen.
If you leave your swollen hand hanging down, gravity will keep the extra fluid there.
But by raising your arm up, the extra fluid can flow down through your arm back into your torso and reduce the swelling in your fingers.
In addition, moving your fingers and hands frequently can help pump blood back into the body.
3. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Anti-inflammatory medications, like Ibuprofen or Aleve, are made to reduce swelling and inflammation.
In cases where your swelling is due to medical conditions, these medications may only be marginally helpful.
4. Change Your Diet
Since a large amount of finger-swelling cases are caused (or at least influenced by) increased fluid retention, reducing the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet is incredibly important.
Not only can this reduce the temporary swelling that you experience, but reducing your sodium intake can help prevent you from gaining various medical conditions that will further complicate your health and cause long-term swelling.
5. Remove The Ring in Situations That Cause Swelling
Given some of the reasons for swelling, like being in hot conditions, exercising, or being pregnant, you can anticipate your fingers swelling.
Knowing that is a likely outcome of the situation, remove your ring before it becomes a problem.
Knowing how important it is to some individuals to wear their wedding ring/band always, consider purchasing a slightly larger alternative ring to wear in conditions that cause swelling.
A popular option is to get an inexpensive silicone ring to wear when you’re doing something that raises your body temperature or while you’re pregnant so that you can still have a wedding ring/band on, but are not in a position to harm yourself by wearing a ring that would get too tight.
You could even wear the ring on a chain around your neck if you would like to keep it close, but can’t wear it at the moment.
If you find that your fingers are consistently larger than normal and it’s causing discomfort, you may be able to resize your ring.
It is much harder to make a ring larger, but in most cases, it can be expanded up half a size.
Otherwise, you may need to get a larger wedding ring.