Who would think that Christmas is a time we have to worry about getting hurt? Over the years we have actually seen many patients with injuries such as the following:
- Lacerated hand from opening presents
- Torn shoulder rotator cuff from taking turkey out of the oven
- Thumb and finger joint pain from trying to open difficult packaging
Below is a list of ways to prevent lacerations, tendonitis, and joint pain when opening packages at Christmas and other times of the year.
(Warning the following includes some graphic but realistic content to scare you into being careful!)
- Keep your hand and other body parts out of the way of knives and sharp plastic edges of packages. Cut away from yourself or else this may happen…..
- Use tools to make opening clam shell type packages easier and safer to avoid wrap rage. (Wrap rage is an actual thing and you can get it by not being able to easily open a gift!)
The following general hints website suggests using a can opener or tin snips, which will take the stress off your finger joints. The use of gloves or blunt tipped scissors is recommended. This article also mentions that you can ask places such as Amazon for “frustration free packaging”. (Who knew you could ask for this?)
Find out how to use a can opener to open clam shell packaging: https://www.today.com/home/forget-scissors-here-s-easiest-way-open-clamshell-packaging-t99421
Find out how to open cardboard boxes safely along with an idea of a tool you could use: https://www.sliceproducts.com/video/open-cardboard-boxes
Want to see if your children know more about knife safety than Lacie? Click this link to take the quiz: https://quizlet.com/26142392/8-knife-safety-rules-flash-cards/
Hopefully these tips will keep you safe, but if you do suffer a tendon laceration, a hand surgeon and certified hand therapist will help you recover from your injury.
What is a flexor tendon laceration?
A flexor tendon laceration is a deep cut on the palm side of your hand that damages the tendons that help you bend your fingers or thumbs. Without surgical repair, your finger or thumb may be unable to flex to hold items such as a cup or coins. This picture demonstrates a flexor tendon repair.
This person wasn’t so lucky. All of their fingers are grasping except for the ring finger because they weren’t able to repair the flexor tendon.
Flexor tendon rehabilitation involves working with your surgeon and a Certified Hand Therapist. Your therapist will fabricate a custom orthotic or splint that will protect your healing tendon and prevent joint tightness or stiffness. As the tendons heal during the next few weeks, your therapist will help you be able to move your fingers safely. You’ll gradually use your hand more each week. Successful recovery involves therapy and home exercises to prevent a rupture or adhesion of the healing tendon. Recovery from a flexor tendon injury often takes 3 months and many patients can regain their range of motion and strength of their hand.
Here’s one type of splint that may be worn for a few weeks to protect the healing hand following surgery.
If you have any questions about hand injuries or hand rehabilitation, please contact Kris Siegenthaler at IMPACT Rehab and Wellness 918-756-3330.
Kris Siegenthaler OTR/L, MS, CHT, CLT is a certified hand therapist who has dedicated her professional career to helping those with hand injuries in the Okmulgee, OK area. Certified hand therapists are occupational or physical therapists who have advanced training and have passed a national certification test. Certified hand therapists specialize in helping those with shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand problems. Kris is the only CHT in the Okmulgee county area and has practiced as a hand therapist for over 20 years.