Are pumpkin-carving tools really worth buying?
Yes, there has been real research on this topic. Dr. Alexander Marcus and his research group in Syracuse, N.Y. tested the performance of two different pumpkin carving tools against a serrated and a plain kitchen knife*. They tested the pressure it takes to cut or puncture a pumpkin with each of the knives and the pumpkin-carving tools. They then used the same pressure against the fingers of cadavers. The pumpkin-carving tools proved to be far superior and safer. The plain kitchen knife caused more injuries than the serrated kitchen knife. Both kitchen knives cut through both the tendons of the finger and, in some cases, a nerve as well. Kitchen knives require more force to puncture a pumpkin, meaning more opportunity for injury.
You can feel confident that investing in pumpkin-carving gadgets is a good idea. If you are interested in seeing the article along with pictures of the test, please be advised that there is a photo of a cadaver hand: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743504000374.
Here are some safe and creative ways to decorate your pumpkin this year:
Dr. Sameer Puri answers your most important questions about stenosing tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger.
My doctor told me I might have a “trigger finger.” What is that?
“Trigger finger,” or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain, locking, popping or clicking of the fingers or thumb when the hand is opened or closed.
What causes trigger finger?
Muscles in your forearm attach to tendons that run all the way to the bones at the ends of your fingers. These muscles help you bend your fingers into a fist. In the hand, the tendons are held close to the bone by pulleys. If the pulleys become too tight or thick, or the tendon gets swollen, the tendon can get stuck. If the tendon cannot glide freely, trigger finger occurs.
What are some of the symptoms of trigger finger?
In its early stages, trigger finger can cause pain. Usually, it is tender on your palm where the finger joins the hand. Sometimes, you feel the pain further along or even on the back of the finger. You might feel like your hands or fingers are stiff or swollen. As it progresses, the tightness can cause the tendon to catch as it tries to glide, leading to a painful snapping sensation when making a fist or opening the hand. Eventually, the finger can get stuck where it is, making it really hard either to straighten or to bend it.
The symptoms are often worst in the mornings immediately after waking up and can occur in any of the fingers or thumbs.
Dr. John Erickson explains when to visit a doctor for a broken finger.
If you recently injured your finger and are wondering if it is broken, the best thing to do is get an x-ray to find out. You can get x-rays in your physician’s office, urgent care, or local emergency room. Many breaks or fractures in the fingers can be misdiagnosed as “just a sprain” or a “jammed finger.” If a finger fracture is not treated appropriately, the long-term results may not be good. I have heard from many patients “I could still move it, so I didn’t think it was broken.” In many cases, a fracture causes the finger to be stiff and difficult to move; however, this is not true in all cases. When in doubt, get it checked out.
The signs of a broken finger are:
- Pain with range of motion
- Skin lacerations
Dr. Benjamin J. Jacobs, an orthopaedic surgeon, answers your questions about carpal tunnel syndrome.
Q: What is the carpal tunnel?
A: It is an actual tunnel made from the bones in your wrist and a tough ligament. The carpal tunnel nerve (median nerve) and several tendons run through the carpal tunnel. The thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger get their sensibility from the carpal tunnel nerve.
Q: What does carpal tunnel syndrome feel like?
A: It varies on the person. The most common feelings people tell me about carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, and clumsiness (frequently dropping things, difficulty with buttons or needle work). The numbness or tingling most often takes place in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. Very commonly, people wake at night or in the morning and have to “shake out” the numbness from their hand.
Q: How does carpal tunnel syndrome happen?
A: Anything that increases pressure on the carpal tunnel nerve can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Often, we don’t ever find out why someone develops carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes we see carpal tunnel syndrome in the setting of certain medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, and pregnancy. Often it is not just one thing causing carpal tunnel syndrome, but a combination of factors.