The avocado has seen a rise in popularity lately. And why not? The oblong fruit contains healthy unsaturated fats and is also a source of other important nutrients such as fiber, vitamin E, and potassium.
Along with the avocado’s increase in popularity, there has also been a rise in avocado-related injuries, which you may see referred to as “avocado hand.”
Avocado hand typically occurs when you’re cutting or preparing an avocado.
The method of cutting an avocado classically involves slicing the fruit in half, and then holding the fruit in the non-dominant hand and using a knife to remove the large pit at the fruit’s center. Once the pit is removed, the dominant hand is used to further peel and cut the avocado.
Avocado hand occurs when the knife you’re using to cut an avocado slips through the soft fruit and into your hand or fingers. This can commonly occur in a couple of ways:
- The knife misses or slips off of the pit while you’re trying to remove it, causing it to cut your hand or fingers.
- Once the pit has been removed, the knife slips through the soft interior of the fruit and into your hand or fingers.
Read on to learn more about how avocado hand occurs, what to do if you cut yourself while slicing an avocado, and how you can prevent injury.
Avocado hand resembles a stab wound and can range in severity from mild to serious.
Mild to moderate cases can be treated with home care or possibly stitches.
Severe cases may cause damage to muscles, nerves, or tendons in the hand, and may require surgery.
You should always seek prompt medical attention if you cut yourself and observe any of the following:
- you can’t stop the bleeding
- the cut is deep or exposes subcutaneous tissue
- the wound is large or gaping and you can’t gently push the edges together
- there’s a loss of sensation in the area that’s been cut
- the cut is on or across a joint
If your cut doesn’t require emergency treatment, you should still watch for signs of infection, which can include:
- pain, swelling, or redness in the affected area
- pus in or around the affected area
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
If your cut is infected, you should visit your doctor. A short course of antibiotics may be needed to treat the infection.
If your cut doesn’t require medical attention, you can do the following things at home to treat it and reduce the risk of infection:
- Apply pressure to the cut to stop the bleeding. Use something like gauze or a clean towel. This may take a few minutes.
- Wash the cut with cool or lukewarm water and mild soap. This can help remove debris from the wound, preventing infection.
- Cover the cut with a sterile dressing, such as a bandage. Make sure to keep the dressing clean and to change it as necessary.
Cuts that require medical attention will often require stitches. You can care for your stitches by keeping them clean and dry until they’re removed.
The recovery time after cutting yourself can vary depending on the severity of the cut.
A mild cut that you’ve treated at home may close itself after a few days.
More moderate injuries may require stitches. The time that stitches are left in can depend on where they’re located on the body. For most areas of the body, you’ll need to return to your doctor after 7 to 10 days to have your stitches removed.
Severe injuries may require stitches and surgery. Your recovery period could range from weeks to months, depending on the procedure.
In these cases, your doctor may immobilize your hand in a splint or bandage for a length of time. Restrictions on certain activities or physical therapy may also be necessary.
You can help to prevent avocado hand by following the tips below:
- Assess how ripe the avocado is. A harder, less-ripe avocado will require more force to cut and could increase your risk of injury.
- Prepare the avocado on a cutting board, not in your hand. Place a towel under the cutting board to help keep it secure on your countertop.
- Use a spoon to remove the pit instead of a knife. Gently slip the spoon under and around the pit to scoop it out.
- Practice good cutting technique. Hold the knife as if you’re gripping someone’s hand. Rest your pointer finger on the top part of the knife handle for guidance. When the avocado is resting on the cutting board, cut away from yourself, starting at the end of the avocado that’s closest to you and moving away.
Avocado hand is when you injure yourself with a knife while slicing an avocado. These injuries can range in severity from treatable at home to requiring stitches or even surgery.
You can help to prevent avocado hand by cutting avocados on a secure cutting board and using a spoon instead of a knife to remove the pit.