Prosthetic Care for Upper Limb Fireworks-Related Injuries
by Amber Henson, on May 16, 2023
In 2021, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated 1,500 emergency room-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 1,100 involving sparklers. The part of the body most often injured? The hand and fingers.
When people lose any portion of an upper limb to a fireworks accident, they may feel lost or guilty. Most people rely on the full use of both hands to work and to manage tasks at home. Prosthetic rehabilitation not only provides an individual with the prosthesis they need to return to their daily activities, but our holistic care model additionally means we teach our patients how to use their device.
There is no “best” prosthetic option after losing part of an upper limb in a fireworks accident. Every residual limb is unique in its shape and length, and each person has different functional goals they want to accomplish with their prosthesis. The type of device that’s selected may also be limited by the person’s insurance coverage.
In the video below, you can watch Gregory talk about his thumb loss injury, his prosthesis and his advice for someone going through this process. Gregory is wearing a Point Designs thumb, which is a passive device. This means he has to use his other hand, his thigh or a nearby surface to change the grip of the thumb. But it’s an incredibly durable device, perfect for his profession as a plumber. “It’s gonna make a huge difference at work because I’ll be able to safely hang on to things I couldn’t hang on to without a thumb.”
Other prostheses for partial hand injuries can be found in our article, “Finger and Partial Hand Devices in Action.” There are also body-powered, cosmetic, myoelectric and activity-specific options for amputations above the wrist.
Does a fireworks injury mean the end of shooting off fireworks? Not at all! Our patient Ray’s injury was a result of a black powder cannon and resulted in an above elbow amputation. With the help of his prosthesis, Ray can operate a chainsaw and drive an ATV (see the video below). He also runs his own fireworks stand and does private fireworks shows at his home.
“Don’t give up,” is the advice that Gregory has for those going through this experience. “If you think you don’t need prosthetic care and support, or don’t deserve it — you definitely do.”
Our clinical teams offer complimentary consultations, and once someone is our patient, it’s not only their body we help care for — our Wellness Inventory is a tool that screens for issues resulting from the injury, including pain, post-traumatic anxiety, and depression.
Have you been involved in a fireworks accident that resulted in an upper limb amputation, or do you know someone who has? Please contact us. If you have a comment you’d like to add to this page for your peers, please leave it below. We hope you have found this article helpful.