Jimmy Fallon returned to the “The Tonight Show” earlier this month, after his wedding ring nearly cost him a finger. Fallon’s much-publicized injury, known as a ring avulsion, highlights how potentially dangerous wearing rings can be, and the importance of removing them before engaging in a variety of everyday jobs and activities.
What is a Ring Avulsion?
Ring avulsion, or degloving, happens quickly. In Fallon’s case, he tripped on a rug in his kitchen and tried to catch himself by grabbing a countertop. His wedding ring got stuck, peeling away skin and damaging blood vessels, muscles, and tendons.
This is a severe injury, requiring prompt surgery and in some cases, amputation of the finger. Fallon was fortunate. Delicate microsurgery, which included taking a vein from the comedian’s foot to help, helped restore the injured finger.
The Impact of Hand Injuries
Avulsions and other injuries to the fingers and hand caused by rings, happen more frequently than you may think. And because of the complexity of the hand, the injuries are often difficult to repair and can impact function – sensation, dexterity, range of motion, and grip – for an extended period of time; sometimes permanently.
The Good News: Prevention is Easy
While ring-related injuries can be devastating, the good news is, they are preventable. Most accidents occur in the home, where garden and lawn work, home maintenance, and trips and falls like Fallon’s, pose threats.
In addition, wearing rings when working in fields like construction, carpentry and firefighting; and when participating in sports and recreational activities, can be dangerous.
The best advice: Take a lesson from the late night host. Remove your rings before engaging in any activity with the possibility of a snag.