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Watch out for ‘avocado hand’ and other serious kitchen knife accidents

A recent story that has cropped up across various news outlets involves the relatively widespread phenomenon of ‘avocado hand.’ Although the name may sound funny, avocado hand is an injury that results from cutting an avocado in an unsafe way, and it could lead to serious consequences.

People may underestimate the thickness of the avocado and just how deep and forcefully they’re pushing the knife. Before they know it, the knife is slicing into their hand – sometimes into the palm, and other times into a finger.

As a result, they may suffer serious damage to tendons, nerves, and other tissues. They can wind up requiring stitches and surgery. Some people even lose functioning in the injured hand.

Cutting food safely

Kitchen knives are a common source of injuries. A study published a few years ago in the Journal of Emergency Medicine highlighted the potential for kitchen knife injuries to send people to the emergency room.

There are various ways to better protect your fingers and the rest of your hand from kitchen knife accidents.

To begin with, it’s important to use a kitchen knife only when you’re alert – not drowsy, distracted, or intoxicated. As you work with a knife in your kitchen, pay attention to what you’re doing and keep your thoughts focused. Sometimes, people lull themselves into thinking that their knife work is routine and doesn’t require much thought. Such complacency can lead to terrible accidents.

Always remain mindful of the position of your hands relative to the knife. Your hand shouldn’t serve as a cutting board; for example, don’t cut into a fruit or vegetable that you’re balancing against your palm if there’s a possibility that the knife will slip or break through and injure your hand. Use a cutting board whenever possible.

Keep your hands out of the knife’s path. If you’re concerned about the knife slipping, try to secure the cutting board so it doesn’t shift around. Also, maintain a secure grip on the knife handle.

These simple precautions may wind up sparing you from severe injuries that could lead to long-term damage to your hand.