Hand surgeon John M. Erickson, MD talks about common hand injuries around the house and how to prevent them.
“I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure” — Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is the pledge toward which all doctors aspire. Doctors try to cure disease and repair injuries. The passage from the oath above reminds us that, if at all possible, we should try to prevent illness and injury rather than only focusing on curing it after it has occurred.
Hand injuries while performing everyday activities — such as cooking, woodworking, exercising and lawnmowing — are too common. Many of these injuries can be prevented by adhering to simple, common sense guidelines.
Turkey carving injuries are unfortunately common around Thanksgiving time. 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which means a lot of carving! Carving isn’t something that most people do regularly, so be sure to read our safety tips below to avoid an injury this holiday season.
- Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward.
- Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat. This is dangerous and unnecessary.
- Keep everything dry. This includes your knife handles, the cutting board and the cutting area. This will help you avoid slips.
- Only use a sharp knife. A dull knife will require the use of force to cut your turkey, which is dangerous and could cause slips. Your knife should be sharp enough as to not require any force when cutting the turkey. Use an electric knife if possible.
- Don’t use a knife to tackle the bones. Use kitchen shears in this situation. They cut bones more easily, and it’s less likely that your knife will slip.
from the Daily Herald
As the temperatures rise and minds wander to poolside guacamole and fresh avocado toast, it’s important to be aware of the trending condition sending many avo-lovers to the hospital — avocado hand.
Dr. Leon Benson, a hand surgeon at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, has treated a number of patients for serious injuries sustained while cutting and removing the pit of an avocado; including torn tendons and hands that have been impaled by sharp knives.
If you’re an avo-lover, take warning. Even celebrities like Joy Behar and Meryl Streep have fallen victim to avocado hand. It’s important to know how to properly hold and cut an avocado so you don’t get injured by this supermarket booby trap. Below, Dr. Benson outlines his top tips for how to safely slice avocados.
Serious hand injuries can occur during daily activities such as preparing food. Many hand injuries can be prevented with simple adjustments to routines. In preparation for the upcoming fall cooking season, please consider some safe, simple adjustments to your own routine in cutting various food items to prevent knife slips, which can cause injuries to the tendons or the nerves in your hand.
This delicious, yet slippery fruit can be a challenge when it comes to cutting and preparing for serving. The danger arises from removing the outside peel of the fruit. Once this is removed, the fruit center is extremely juicy and becomes difficult to hold. The fruit is also oval-shaped, difficult to place on a cutting board and has a large pit in the center.
Here’s a safe method for preparing mangoes:
- Keep the peel intact! Instead, stand the mango on a cutting board with stem side down and cut mango into two large pieces from either side of the pit. Be sure to cut toward a cutting board or solid surface and not the palm of your hand.
- Taking the two large pieces with peel side on cutting board, you can use a paring knife to cut cubes or slices of the mango, being sure not to cut through the peel. Again, be certain you are cutting toward a hard surface and not your hand.
- Once all your cuts are made, you can begin to peel away the skin of the mango by turning the skin inside out OR you can use a spoon (not anything sharp) and scoop the cut pieces away from the skin of the mango.
We are aware that we should exercise caution to prevent job-related injuries at work. However, many injuries happen at home, especially in the kitchen. Hand injuries are some of the worst kind. Cut hand tendons and ligaments are not only painful, but extremely hard to restore through surgery.
Our hands are our “money makers.” Without their proper use, life is much more difficult. Not only at work, but when at home, too, we should take the proper precautions whenever performing a task that involves a blade (like cutting, chopping, or peeling) – even if the task does not seem “dangerous.” Here’s a great video showing some basic kitchen knife techniques – the cross chop and the rock chop.
Recently, attention has been drawn to the injury known as “avocado hand.” This is what surgeons and doctors call hands that have been lacerated by a knife while slicing an avocado. Click HERE to watch a video on how to prevent “avocado hand.” Instead of holding the avocado with your bare hand, you can use a damp towel or a cutting board to slice the avocado and remove the pit.
from The New York Times
Avocados may seem harmless, but if you’ve ever peeled and cut one, you know they can be more than a little troublesome. They’re slippery, they’re oddly shaped, and they have that annoying pit in the middle that rarely slips out as easily as you’d like.
These characteristics have earned the avocado a reputation as one of the most dangerous foods to cut. Just recently, the wife of a colleague here at The New York Times was slicing an avocado when she suffered a cut so deep she had to be taken to the emergency room.
Medical professionals and hospitals in the United States don’t track kitchen injuries by ingredient, but anecdotally, doctors say they see a number of avocado-related cooking injuries annually — enough to notice.