Arthritis Hand Hand Safety Hand Surgeon

Advice from a doctor on avoiding hand injuries during the holidays

cooking and home concept - close up of male hand cutting tomato on cutting board with sharp knife

from the Sun Sentinel

Longtime West Boca Medical Center and private practice hand surgeon Dr. Michael Joyner sees his share of holiday mishaps – cutting holiday appetizers or prepping dinner with arthritis or using too sharp a knife – and has sage advice on how to ward off hand injuries.

What has arthritis got to do with food preparation?

They don’t have a good hold or grip. A lot of times, they’ll get a cut or laceration. In the hand, it doesn’t bleed so much, but may a hit a nerve. Many times they’ll have a constant numbness or tingling.

Does it get worse?

The longer you wait, the less likely it will be repaired.

What should people do if this happens to them?

I would follow up with a hand surgeon and be evaluated in a timely fashion. That can make a difference in your treatment plan.

What will the hand surgeon do?

After evaluation, it may be necessary for surgical or nonsurgical treatment. If there’s arthritis at the base of the thumb, and I see it every day, that might require injections or a special splint to stabilize it.

What if people wait it out?

After injury or soreness, people will favor their hand and not use it as much. It becomes stiff and leads to a trigger finger. If you check it early enough, you can treat it without surgery.

What else do you see?

Burns on the hands from the oven or scalding water. The key with that is a balance of movement while helping the wound heal. If the hand’s not moving, it can became stiff.

What about the special utensils you designed?

I designed them ergonomically and they’re at They’re also for slicing, not only to avoid germs on the table. When you hold it in your hand, it gives you more control. It’s designed to fit in your hand. It takes the pressure off certain points in your hand.

What about sharp knives?

New blades that are very sharp do cause problems more than ones that are dull. When they’re dull, they’re putting more effort and their hands slip.

Do you see burns?

I do see burns. Be careful with your cooking and when you’re putting presents together. I had a horrible injury last year when someone was getting Christmas lights out of the attic. Take off your jewelry. If that jewelry gets caught, that’s very dangerous.

What other kind of hand injuries do you see during holidays?

Trauma related, lacerations or cuts, puncture wounds when people are putting toys together. Tendinitis putting a bike together. Increasing pain in hands or wrists. It’s temporary, but sometimes it can last a lot longer than expected. I see people who haven’t been in the kitchen much or they find they’re rusty or fixing a lot more than they normally do and they come in more often. Grandparents will pick up children more often and sometimes that will flare it up.


Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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