Jimmy Fallon raises awareness about horrifying injury called ring avulsion

The Tonight Show host talks about his bout with ring avulsion, a finger injury that looks and sounds like something from a horror movie. We Googled it so you don't have to and trust us, you don't want to either.

Danny Gallagher
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
Danny Gallagher
2 min read

Late night host Jimmy Fallon returned to the airwaves with a cast around his left hand and a horrifying story about a rare but serious type of finger injury. Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Fans of "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" may have noticed the host with a rather large cast around his left hand where his wedding ring used to be.

That's because he had a little accident over a two-week break at his home that almost...well, if you're the kind of person who gets nauseous during movies like Hostel or Saw, you should probably just stop reading right now.

Fallon first sent out some tweets on June 26 explaining how he tripped, caught his wedding ring on the side of a table and "almost ripped my finger off." He returned to The Tonight Show on Monday where he described his accident and recovery from a rare type of finger injury known as "ring avulsion."

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics in 2008, ring avulsion is rare but very serious. It occurs when a ring on a person's finger is pulled in some kind of forceful manner causing anything from "a simple contusion injury to a traumatic amputation."

In some cases, ring avulsion can also cause injury to the surrounding skin, muscle and tissue known as "degloving," which is exactly what your horrified mind is probably picturing right now.

A report filed in 2013 in British Medical Journal Case Reports details the case of a 59-year-old man who had his ring finger stripped almost down to the bone when he tripped and got his wedding ring caught on a steel fence during his fall.

The same report also shows some VERY graphic pictures of the man's degloved finger and let's just say that you shouldn't click on this link if you faint at the sight of blood because if you do, the photos will probably put you into a coma.

Fallon's doctors may have been able to reattach his finger by replacing the crushed vein with one from his foot, but in most ring avulsion cases, amputation is the safest option. A 2008 study from the Journal of Hand Surgery says that new microsurgical techniques have led to a rise in successful finger reattachments and repairs but it also noted that "amputation is still the best option for most patients."

The best way to prevent one of your fingers from being smashed, severed or peeled like a ripe banana is simply to take rings off before an accident can happen. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas issued a statement in 2012 advising ring wearers to remove their rings before participating in any physical activity such as sports, construction work and moving heavy objects or interacting with machines with moving parts where rings could get caught.

If you've been eating the whole time you were reading this story, I sincerely apologize. I'm especially sorry if you were eating something like sausage links or chicken fingers with ketchup.