Your wedding ring is likely one of the most precious items you own. Not only is it highly valuable, but it also contains great sentimental value. You want to do everything you can to protect it. So, when you’re playing sports, should you take it off?
To answer that question, let’s look at two factors: the risks of damaging your ring and your own personal safety.
Potential Damage to Your Ring
Ring damage is probably the first concern that comes to mind, and it’s a great concern for athletes. This is especially true for softer metals and more delicate gemstones. For example, gold is very soft and susceptible to scratches, gouges, and tarnishing. Delicate gemstones like amber, garnet, and turquoise can also be easily damaged upon impact in a sport.
You might think that your diamond ring is safe because it’s the hardest substance known to man. But think again.
“There are lines of weakness through the diamond, and edges are particularly vulnerable,” explains an article from online retailer Estate Diamond Jewelry. “With a simple impact strike in the wrong place, your diamond could easily split or even shatter. Before you start to panic, you’d need to be desperately unlucky for that to happen. But you should still take care of your ring anyway.”
There’s also a risk of sweat and grime corroding the metal on your ring. The acidic properties of these elements can build up over time and tarnish the metal. It can also get into the grooves between gemstones and increase the likelihood of your gemstones falling out.
Estate Diamond Jewelry recommends cleaning your ring monthly to diminish the risk of everyday sweat and dirt, but those who are physically active will need a more regimented cleaning schedule. “If you do a lot of activities which make you sweat heavily, then you should be cleaning it once a week.”
Potential Safety Concerns
You should also consider your safety and the safety of others. A hard, metal ring that may have sharp gemstones sticking out could do a lot of damage to an opponent on the field if it’s involved in an impact. The ring could severely gouge an opponent’s skin, damage the eye, or leave a bruise.
The most important safety concern is that of your own hand. There’s a frightening possibility that you could experience ring avulsion. Tim Jewell, a reporter for Healthline.com explains that ring avulsion occurs when a ring you’re wearing catches on another object and is yanked suddenly, “degloving” or ripping off finger tissues like muscles, bones, and tendons with it.
This is the reason that manufacturing plants and heavy machinery operations do not allow their employees to wear metal rings while at work.
“Jimmy Fallon, host of ‘The Tonight Show,’ brought this type of injury to national attention in 2015 when his wedding ring got caught on the edge of a table when he fell,” writes Jewell. “He reported that surgeons worked on his finger for over six hours, and even though his finger wasn’t amputated, he wore a cast on his ring finger for weeks.”
Ring avulsion is not common, but when it happens, sports and physical activities are often involved. Objects like ropes, balls, or nets can catch your ring, not to mention other players moving past you at high-speed.
Anyone wearing a ring is at risk for a ring avulsion injury,” Jewell continues. “To reduce your risk, ensure that any rings you wear are properly fitted to your finger… You should take your rings off before you play sports or use any exercise equipment, too.”
Conclusion: Play It Safe and Remove Your Ring
There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen in each sports event, so it’s always better to play it safe and remove your ring before playing. The sport you’re playing may seem to be low risk, but there are too many unknowns to say you won’t damage your ring or your hand in the process.
If you feel the need to declare that you’re taken, buy an affordable silicone ring and wear that while you’re playing sports. That way, you can fulfill the social obligation of identifying your marital status without risking your own safety or ring damage.