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Quick Dose: What Is Avocado Hand?

While it might sound like a laughable term, what’s being dubbed as avocado hand is a very real injury from improperly cutting the fruit. In fact, emergency departments are seeing an increase in this type of wound, likely a result of the popularity of the superfood.

“I see it fairly frequently,” says Northwestern Medical Group Emergency Medicine Physician Scott Dresden, MD. “They can be pretty nasty.”

There are two common ways to injure yourself cutting an avocado:

  • When you “stab” the pit to remove it while holding the avocado in the palm of your hand, you may slip and hit the palm of your hand.
  • When you “hack” the pit while holding it between your thumb and index finger, you can miss cutting your hand between your thumb and forefinger.

Both injuries can potentially damage tendons or nerves that can take weeks to months to heal. To avoid injury, always use proper tools and techniques when cutting. And never hold in your hand the item you are cutting.

How to properly cut an avocado:

  • Stand the avocado on one side, bracing it with your hand.
  • Gently run the knife around the avocado lengthwise until you hit the seed.
  • Open the avocado into two halves.
  • Use a spoon or avocado utensil to scoop out the fruit.

Should you fall victim to any cutting injuries, immediately apply direct pressure with your fingers and elevate the injured area. If bleeding persists, have someone drive you to your local emergency department for medical attention. If the injury is severe, call 911.