NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The growing popularity of avocados has many people learning that cutting the tasty and healthy fruit the wrong way can lead to a new medical trauma: avocado hand.
If you search YouTube for “how to cut an avocado,” you’ll be greeted by hundreds of videos of people demonstrating techniques of all different skill levels. For the trickier methods, doctors warn “don’t try this at home.”
“Of people who cut tendons and nerves in their hands, we usually guess that it’s an avocado injury,” Dr. Scott Wolfe from the Hospital for Special Surgery says. “It’s so common I would say that nine out of 10 are avocado injuries.”
There are tons of avocado hand examples posted to social media, some of which are too gruesome to show on television. Meryl Streep hurt herself, as did Joy Behar. Bachelorette Andi Dorfman also fell victim.
Jim Fitzgerald says he was a victim of one of the most common avocado hand culprits, using a sharp knife to remove the pit.
“I used a knife, and was supposed to use a quick snap of the wrist into the pit, but it bounced off of the pit and into my hand, cutting it,” he said.
Jim was one of the lucky ones. His wedding ring kept the knife from severing several tendons and nerves. It’s an injury Dr. Wolfe says can be pretty serious.
“The hand is an incredibly complex organ with lots of tendons and nerves in a very small space,” Dr. Wolfe said. “It’s very easy to do a lot of damage there.”
Wolfe recommends holding it on a cutting board with one hand, cutting all around the fruit at the equator, then rolling it halfway over and cutting it again. The avocado should easily come apart into quarters with the pit popping right out.
Experts say a good rule of thumb is never to aim the sharp edge of a knife or the point of the knife at your hand. An avocado has a hard pit with soft flesh around it, so it’s really easy to go right through the soft part and into your hand.