Common 4th of July Hand Injuries

Doctor fastening a wrist brace onto a patients arm.

Photo by Tom Claes licensed under Unsplash

The Fourth of July is a fun-filled day with plenty of activities, but it’s also a holiday in which many people experience hand injuries. Fireworks are a common cause of all sorts of injuries. If you’re preparing for a safe and fun Independence Day, learning more about different hand injuries and how to treat them can be beneficial. Here’s everything you need to know about common Fourth of July hand injuries.

Fireworks-Related Hand Injuries

Fireworks are a huge culprit for hand injuries during Independence Day celebrations. Handling and setting off fireworks can be incredibly dangerous. When combined with the consumption of inhibitors, trying to set off fireworks yourself can be very hazardous. Not only can fireworks cause intense burns and pain, they may also sever fingers or cause irreversible damage to the structure of the hand. If you’re planning on enjoying fireworks this July Fourth, it may be best to leave the show to the professionals or only use fireworks you’re certain you know how to control.

Other fire-related Fourth of July fun can also cause hand injuries during the holiday. One common activity for kids during Independence Day is lighting and playing with sparklers. When unsupervised, children may touch the part of the sparkler that’s very hot, causing them to receive burns on their palms or fingers. To treat a burn from fireworks, you can use aloe vera and run cool water over the burn. Many fireworks-related injuries may require a visit to the emergency room.

Grill Burns on Hands, Wrists, and Arms

Outdoor grills allow you to serve up tasty meals for your family during the holiday, but they may also be a source of hand injuries. When grilling, you may attempt to grab or touch a part of the grill that’s too hot and burn your hand. You may also try to grab a hot food item from the grill, only to find that it’s hotter than you thought. Tools left on the hot surface may also heat up and be a source of burns on the hands.

Grills can also be a source of hand injuries for kids. Kids may run near the grill or try to touch it without realizing how hot it is. If a child places their hand on the exterior of the grill, the heat from the charcoal or propane can cause serious burns. When grilling for your family, it’s important to keep the grill away from where children are playing. To treat a burn from the grill, you can hold the burn under cool running water, apply aloe vera, and cover the area with a bandage.

Sports and Recreation Injuries

Many families partake in recreational outdoor activities during Independence Day, which can cause various injuries, including those to your hands. Water sports are especially popular during this time, and activities like wakeboarding, windsurfing, and jet skiing can all require the use of your hands and wrists. When taking part in these water sports, you may experience strains or sprains from overuse.

Other sports and activities can also cause hand injuries. For example, if you play tag, have a water balloon fight, or play football in the backyard, you may trip and use your hand to break the fall. This can cause you to bruise your hand or sprain your wrist. When playing outdoors, it’s important to protect your hands and stay safe. You can treat many recreation hand injuries by icing them and not using your hand for a few days.

Common Hand Injury Symptoms

The symptoms you experience from your hand injuries can vary greatly depending on the injury or wound. These are the injuries we’ve reviewed and the symptoms you may experience when facing them.

Fireworks Injury Symptoms

The range in severity of a fireworks injury can vary greatly depending on your proximity to the firework and what type it is. Due to the explosive nature of fireworks, you may experience cuts, bruises, and potential severances of appendages when handling one. These are some common symptoms of fireworks injuries:

Grill Injury Symptoms

Compared to fireworks-related injuries, burns from the grill may not be as bad. If you burn yourself while grilling, you’re likely able to remove your hand quickly before too much damage can take place. These are some common symptoms of hand injuries you may get from the grill:

Sports Injury Symptoms

Sports injuries to the hand can range from bruising to tense or sore muscles. These are some symptoms you may experience if you get a hand injury while participating in an Independence Day sport or outdoor activity:

When To See a Doctor

Injuries on the Fourth of July can range from mild inconveniences to severe damage, and seeing a doctor when you face a fireworks-related injury may help you avoid long-lasting damage. If you can’t decide, it’s often best to see the doctor. These are some signs you should see a doctor for your injury:

Preventing Fourth of July Hand Injuries

Many hand injuries that occur during Independence Day celebrations are easily avoidable if you prepare. Always be sure to monitor children and consider leaving the fireworks to the professionals. If you light a firework that doesn’t go off the first time, soak it in water and dispose of it rather than trying to light it again.

Holidays are way more fun when they’re safe and injury-free. Prepare for this Independence Day by knowing how to prevent injuries and when to see a doctor. We hope this guide has been helpful, and if you have more questions about hand and wrist issues, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team of professionals.

Dr. John Knight
Dr. John Knight

Dr. Knight is a renowned hand, wrist and upper extremity surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Knight is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship trained. Dr Knight has appeared on CNN, The Doctors TV, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Oxygen network and more.