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  • Steven J. Lee, MD

Avocados and Dangers In the Kitchen

Avocados, how can that be dangerous?

We see way too many hand injuries when patients pit an avocado with a knife, slip, and plunge the knife into their hand! Learn more about what can happen by watching this video I did that aired on Fox TV about 10 years ago. (Bonus: You get to see what I looked like 10 years ago).

You should NEVER point a knife where a slip could potentially end up in your hand or another body part. Other common kitchen injuries occur from cutting bagels or frozen food (hamburgers, pizza, meats), broken glass, and burns. These injuries can result in serious consequences such as tendon lacerations and nerve lacerations.

Sometimes, the appearance of the cut may be deceiving. It may look like benign, but often this is just the tip of the iceberg. Any loss of sensation or movement is worrisome and presumed to be a cut nerve or tendon until proven otherwise.

Unfortunately, many patients delay seeking treatment thinking that the cut is small or hoping that it will get better. Outcomes are much better the EARLIER we can treat it. So please DO NOT wait to seek treatment!

Tendon lacerations most commonly occur as a result of a cut to the hand or wrist from a sharp object such as a knife or glass.  Tendons of the hand and wrist are fairly superficial (i.e. close to the skin), so a knife or other sharp object does not have to cut very deep in order to damage a tendon. The most common symptom is the inability to flex or extend the finger(s) that the lacerated tendon(s) control.  Incomplete tendon lacerations may just cause pain and/or a "catching sensation" with flexion and extension of the finger(s). There may also be numbness or tingling of the finger(s) given the close proximity of nerves to tendons.  Any concern for nerve injury in addition to tendon laceration needs to be immediately addressed. Read more about tendon lacerations here.

Nerves of the hand and wrist are also close to the skin, so a knife or other sharp object does not have to cut very deep in order to damage a nerve. The most common symptom after nerve laceration is numbness. The location of this numbness depends on the location of the laceration. Patients may also experience weakness of the muscles the nerve supplies if a nerve contains both motor and sensory fibers. The area of the nerve laceration can also be particularly sensitive and painful over time. Read more about nerve lacerations here.

Because there are many factors working against you with tendon and nerve lacerations, it's important that you choose a hand surgeon with a high level of skill and a steady hand!  Dr. Steven Lee has over 20 years of experience in microscopic hand surgery.

Dr. Steven Lee is currently accepting new patients. He sees patients at NY Orthopedics in Manhattan, Scarsdale, and Westbury Long Island. We look forward to meeting you!

Be careful when handling any sharp utensils and practice kitchen safety!

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