Pointing the finger at summer hand injuries

Dr. Ruby Grewal, surgeon at St. Joseph’s Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre has been working with hand injuries for the past 13 years. Dr. Grewal treats the most common injuries that crop up every sunny season, “It’s unfortunate but simple summer activities such as barbecuing and trimming the lawn result in a lot of hand issues.”

Two of the most common summer injuries of the hand involve fingertip and hand lacerations. “These are often the result of fingers getting cut by a lawnmower blade. We also see lot of finger lacerations from people trying to separate frozen hamburger patties with a knife.”

man with bandaged handThe result of a summer slip-up can lead to open fractures and even the loss of fingers. “Sometimes a laceration of a tendon or a nerve will require surgical repair, and in more severe cases people can lose a digit. We often see that with heavy tools like table saws and lawn equipment,” she states.

Dr. Grewal suggests some simple steps to help avoid summer mishaps. “Always wear gloves when using a mower or trimmer. Keep your hands away from the blades at all times. If your mower is clogged, be very careful when cleaning it out. Never touch mower blades with your hands, even if the engine is off or it is unplugged. The blades may unexpectedly turn once the obstruction is cleared. As for slicing through those frozen burgers, defrost them or be extra cautious and separate them on a table top rather than in your hands. Do the same for slicing buns, avocados and other fruits and vegetables.”

If a cut or wound occurs, Dr. Grewal suggests cleaning it and applying pressure to control bleeding. Ice can also be used to help control swelling.

“Go to the nearest emergency room if you have any concerns especially if you can’t move your finger, your finger or wrist looks crooked, you have a deep open wound and can see white, you have a cut that results in pulsating bleeding, or if your finger has been amputated or partially amputated.

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