Yours in Healing with Dr. Rachel Lys

Kitchen Safety & Physical Therapy

Dr. Rachel Lys

Just like the new day dawns a new type of injury. Texting thumb is a real diagnosis due to the amount of screen time device time the average person spends. Well now there is a new injury creeping up in popularity based on kitchen safety and your physical therapist maybe able to help. Avocado’s have increased in popularity, as the heart healthy benefits and high nutrient content of this super-food, have made them a favorite condiment, side dish, salad and sandwich topper. Let’s face it, they’re creamy and delicious! On the down side, there has been a rise in avocado related hand injuries due to self-inflicted knife accidents. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons has even warned the public regarding the safety risk of cutting avocados.

The most common type of injury associated with avocado is when a knife tip is pointed down on the seed; the knife tip will slip off of the seed and into one’s hand. Another type of injury is when someone underestimates the ripeness of the avocado when cutting through it and cuts too deep and into their hand. These injuries have been named, “avocado hand,” and can be minimal to severe. They usually occur on the non-dominant hand palm between the thumb and index finger according to the Irish Medical Journal. These injuries can range from small flesh wounds, a single penetration, tendon or nerve laceration and even a full penetration through the hand! Depending on the severity, surgery may be required.

How to Avoid Avocado Hand:

  • Consider using a butter knife or plastic knife. If the avocado is ripe, these tools will be sufficient! Besides, who wants to eat an unripened avocado?
  • If you like kitchen gadgets (you know who you are), consider an avocado slicer or pitter to slice and remove the seed.
  • Avoid placing the avocado in your hand and using your hand as a cutting board – whether it’s an avocado or any other fruit or veggie!
  • Should you choose to use a knife, the California Avocado Commission recommends peeling avocados to avoid injury and to take full advantage of the darker area close to the skin, which contains more nutrients, such as Lutein. Here are the recommendations for peeling an avocado:
    1. Cut the ripe avocado in half lengthwise around the seed on a cutting board
    2. Rotate the avocado ¼ way and cut lengthwise again to make four segments
    3. Separate the quarters by gently twisting the avocado sections
    4. Remove the seed with your fingers or a spoon, if needed
    5. Carefully separate the tip of the avocado, use a knife or spoon if needed, and peel each segment.

Safety First:

When it comes to preparing food, it is always recommended that you take your time and take the proper precautions to minimize the risk of injury, especially when handling knives. If you have any questions about avocado hand or other upper extremity injuries, you can reach out to your local physical therapist we are here to help.

Hope these tips are helpful.

As Always Yours in Healing,  Dr. Rachel Lys DPT

631-668-7600    •