Avoiding a Flexor Tendon Laceration This Halloween

flexor tendon lacerations
Flexor tendon lacerations are actually extremely common around Halloween, as pumpkin carving becomes more commonplace.

Halloween is an exciting and spooky time of the year with fun activities for the whole family. Dressing up, making cookies, and watching scary movies are all ways to get the most out of the Halloween experience.

And perhaps the most significant Halloween-related activity next to trick or treating would have to be pumpkin carving. A Jack O’Lantern is made from a pumpkin that has been hollowed out by removing the seeds and pulp. Once it is completely empty, the carver carves an image out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. We then place a light inside the pumpkin and the Jack O’Lantern is ready for its place on your doorstep.

Flexor Tendon Laceration: Four-To-Five Times More Likely In October

Although it may sound like all fun and games, carving a pumpkin can result in a flexor tendon laceration. Injuries to the flexor tendon and digital nerves are significant, affecting the movement and functionality of your hands and fingers. This commonly occurs when a kitchen knife slips into your hand. Repairing these injuries is necessary to restore proper motion, requiring substantial expertise to handle properly.

Patients who have undergone surgery will need rehabilitation to initiate finger motion. This should be administered in a protected environment to avoid severe scarring and stiffness. The help of a rehabilitation professional is recommended, as recovering motion can be a difficult and painful process. Patient cooperation and compliance is a must for best results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

People commonly associate a large kitchen knife as the tool of choice for carving a pumpkin, but experts say to avoid using one altogether. Kitchen knives tend to slip around as you are cutting into a pumpkin, increasing the chance of a flexor tendon laceration.

The absolute best option for those looking to carve a Jack O’Lantern would be to purchase a kit of specialized tools. These tools are perfect for easy handling as you are cutting into a tough pumpkin and can help you avoid serious injury in the long run. If these tools are not an option, experts recommend using a knife with a short handle.

The first thing people usually do when beginning the pumpkin carving process is cutting off the top and scooping out the insides. Doing so sets you up for a serious injury as it is easy to penetrate a knife through a hollow pumpkin with the lid removed.

It is better to cut out the bottom of the pumpkin leaving the stem for you to hold on to as you are cutting. Cut out your desired shape first and then scoop out the insides after. Leaving the pulp in while you carve won’t complicate the processes because it’s soft.

In Case of Injury, Seek Immediate Medical Attention  

A flexor tendon laceration can devastate what should be a fun and festive Halloween activity. These injuries are dangerous and can cause serious complication if left untreated. Do not delay seeing a surgeon who specializes in tendon repair as waiting for too long will result in a retracted tendon and shrinking sheath. This will turn what could have been a repair into a reconstruction which will further complicate the healing process.

TOBY Orthopaedics’ Flexor Tendon Repair Tools make for a more effective, less intrusive recovery process. These specialized tools provide the only means of successfully enlarging a shrunken tendon sheath and slipping a swollen tendon back into its sheath.

Learn more about implants that relieve pain and restore function at TOBY Orthopaedics today! 

Also read: Flexor Tendon Injuries and Associated Complications