Monday 18 December 2023

Keeping your hands safe


Hands are precious body parts that can get injured in many ways. Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of injury.

Our hands are important. We use them for grabbing and holding things, gesturing, touching and feeling, communicating, caressing, feeding.. without the use of our hands, we are handicapped. And because we use them so much and in so many different ways, our hands are constantly in harm's way.

But there are things we can do, precautions we can take, to limit the risk of harm to our hands.

What are the risks to our hands?

There are so many. Some dangers are linked to specific behaviours and seasons, others are year-round.

Let's check some common accidental dangers.


Fireworks can be pretty to watch.

But think about it, what are they made of? Inflammable materials, explosive materials (similar to gunpowder), elements like sulphur and lithium.. each firework contains different ingredients to burn and sound different, but they all rely on an explosive and a fuse to ignite it. Sounds safe?

Fireworks can go off earlier than expected, or the fuse fails and becomes dangerously short. The path of the fireworks can never be predicted accurately, you don't know where the still burning remains will land.

And if something goes wrong while you hold or light it- your hands are the first in harm's way. Each year people lose parts of their hands due to firework injuries. This year so far is no exception.

Even sparklers are not safe, and really should not be given to small children to wave around. They burn with a temperature of 2,000 degrees Celsius, emit small burning particles, and stay hot for a long time after. So wear leather gloves and have a bucket with water or sand ready to put them in when they have stopped sparkling but are still hot.

Know what to do if someone does get injured! Mr Andy McNab, hand surgeon in Oxford, explains the first aid - extinguish the flames, remove clothing or rings from the affected area, 20 minutes of cool running water over the affected area, and keep the person warm. Then cover the burn with cling film, hold the appendage high if possible and decide if medical help is needed.

Over bonfire weekend in 2023, someone looked for advice on treating burns on the NHS website every 21 seconds. That is a lot of people! Let's hope some of those were people doing their research just in case anything were to go wrong, instead of all being occasions where things had gone wrong.

Dangers in the kitchen

Most of us will have heard of avocado-hand. It happens mainly in young adults, and always the non-dominant hand as that is the one that holds the fruit. You cut the avocado in two, twist the halves to separate them, and then one half will still have the pit in. In order to get the pit out, you use a knife.

And that is where the problem shows: the avocado flesh is soft, the pit hard. The knife goes through the flesh of the avocado and into the hand easily, if it is not purposely pointed away from the hand.

And then you end up needing surgery to fix nerves, tendons and other tissues that may have been damaged.

Similar things can happen for instance when carving a pumpkin. Always aim the knife away from yourself!

Other dangers in the kitchen are chopping vegetables and accidentally chopping the hand that holds the veggies; using a grater and grating your fingers. This can result in fingertip injuries, where a part of the fingertip can actually come off. Gadgets to hold the product you are preparing, or just eating that last bit of cheese yourself rather than trying to grate it, can save a lot of pain!

A lesser known danger lurks in the dishwasher, if you have one. How do you put the knives in? Tip up is a big no-no, as that can cause cuts to the hand of anyone putting something in or unpacking the machine, who may not realise there is a sharp knife pointing at them.

And then of course there is the danger of burns, handling hot fluids or food, hot pans or getting something out of the oven. Wearing oven gloves can prevent a lot of those. And check your tea or coffee mugs, make sure the handle doesn't show any cracks. Don't want it breaking just as you're carrying a hot brew.

If you or someone else gets burned - treat them like we explain under fireworks burns. Whatever the cause, burns are burns.


Falling can happen anywhere and to anyone. When we fall, instinct is to try to break our fall by putting our hands in front of us. And this is likely to lead to a FOOSH injury (yes, that stands for 'Fall Onto an OutStretched Hand)

Breaks, sprains, ligament or tendon damage and extensive bruising can occur.

And while it isn't always possible to prevent falls, some things can be done to limit the risk.

Make sure the floor is clear of clutter. If you have mobility problems now and then, you may want to have a stool or chair nearby to hold on to. When sporting, make sure you wear protective clothes such as padded gloves. And make sure your footwear has good grip so you are less likely to slip.

Using electrical tools

The next big category of injuries is those caused by tools. Sometimes industrial tools, mainly electrical ones.

Examples are chainsaws, shredders, lawnmowers, snowblowers.

Always unplug machinery, and if sharp blades are involved, DO NOT stick your hands in them to get rid of an obstruction or to clean them, as you may well be pushing your hand against a blade! Use pliers or long forceps, or ask a professional to help.

Trapping your hand or fingers

Doors, especially car doors, are a big danger. Not just the side that opens, the side of the door where the hinge is even more so, someone may be holding on there without realising how dangerous it is (small children especially ). Trapped fingers or hands get crushed, which makes repairing the tissues a lot more difficult than with a clean cut.

So be careful, check it is safe before closing a door, and don't slam a door shut but close it gently, just in case.

Be careful with your hands

These are just some of the most common ways people injure their hands by accident. There are a lot more ways hands can get injured (animal bites or stings, fights, and repetitive injuries like typing are other examples). I may discuss them another time.

For now, the take-home message is: your hands are precious, treat them with care!

Monday 30 October 2023

Abbreviations webpage


We have a new webpage, to help new patients especially. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

We had a Dupuytren's awareness day!

May 8 is International Viking Day, so the BSSH and the BDS together decided to jump on the bandwagon and declare a Dupuytren awareness day the same day, and post Tweets (and toots, and facebook posts) all day long. Here is a summary of what the BDS posted: 


 Today is Viking Day! And Dupuytren's is called "Viking Disease". But let's be honest, it isn't passed on by Vikings. So we can stop blaming the poor Vikings, and admit we don't know where the disease originated. Or why we get it. 


 Some recent research or study articles on Dupuytren's Disease research:

 Adalimumab trial 

 STAT modulation  

CD109 expression 

 Dupuytren's and other diseases 

Research with as yet no result

 Collagenase replacement research



  Viking heritage would not be all that bad! We like calling ourselves Viking Warriors, and the idea of decent personal hygiene is a plus as well! 


BSSH training days on Dupuytren, charity presence. We have been promised a table in the hall where the BSSH does the Dupuytren's training in June. We will be able to introduce our charity to the next generation of hand surgeons! We are busy getting leaflets and other products printed and ready. 

 There are societies in many countries.The main organisation is the International Dupuytren's Society, and there are societies in Germany, the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Russia. 


We are in contact with doctors in other countries such as Belgium, Argentina, and Australia Facebook, Twitter, Websites, Mastodon, blog We have a decent social media presence, and connect with a lot of people this way. We even follow people on LinkedIn, via a personal account. 

We have a webshop on Teemill, with proceeds going to the Dupuytren Research Group, to support their search for a biomarker. We can easily add different designs and different garments to the shop, so if you are looking for something in particular, let us know. 


There was a recent law change in the prescription of Dupuytren's as Industrial Injury -now far less people will be able to claim, and many will have to wait for treatment until the disease is advanced enough to claim compensation.This means they risk more pain and disability, and the result of treatment is likely to be less good, with more invasive treatments needed. We started a petition to show our concerns to the government 



Viking pictures all original images by Hao Qin. Free to use under the Unsplash License, text added.

Monday 6 February 2023

Saturday 21 January 2023

Please sponsor Julie

One of our members (who has Ledderhose herself) is going to run the London marathon to raise funds for us! We wish her all the best. To find her sponsor page, here is the link: We will keep you updated on her progress as she is practicing for the marathon.