Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s a day to be grateful and enjoy delicious food, spend time with family and friends (which might look different this year due to the pandemic) and maybe even play a little football. But it is also a day that can be ruined if it results in an injury.  

In 2016, an estimated 36,729 people visited the ER on Thanksgiving Day, according to data from the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CSPC). You can be sure that many more individuals suffered injuries on Thanksgiving that didn’t go to the ER that day or decided to visit their doctor sometime afterward. 

At The Orthopedic Group, we want your holidays to be hazard-free, and we care about keeping you and your loved ones safe. Continue reading to learn about some common injuries on Thanksgiving Day and how to avoid them. 


Did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires? The CSPC states that an average of 1,800 cooking fires occurs on Thanksgiving Day each year. That is four times the average number on any other day of the year!

Furthermore, it may sound like fun to deep fry your turkey, but be aware that it is not as easy of an activity as it sounds. If you are not careful, it can be highly dangerous. According to the CSPC, there were 218 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers in the last two decades. This resulted in 81 injuries and $9.7 million in property loss.

To avoid cooking fires and burns this Thanksgiving, check out some of these tips

  • Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven
  • Keep flammable items like potholders, paper and plastic bags away from the stove or oven 
  • Use oven mitts when grabbing hot items
  • Keep children and pets away from cooking areas
  • Do not overfill the oil in a turkey fryer
  • Only deep fry a turkey outdoors and away from your home (not on the porch or in the garage)


With the holidays comes an increase in travel. Each year, it is estimated that there are more than 6 million vehicle accidents in the United States alone. More than 4 million people are injured each year in collisions, and more than 2 million injuries sustained are permanent disabilities. According to data from the National Safety Council, approximately 400 people are involved in fatal car accidents from Thanksgiving travel each year. 

To avoid travel-related injuries this Thanksgiving, check out some of these tips

  • Always wear a seatbelt and don’t ride in vehicles that do not have them
  • Do not ride with a driver who has been drinking
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Avoid traveling at night
  • Try not to travel alone 

Our physical therapists at The Orthopedic Group can help treat common motor vehicle accident injuries, including:  


  • Fractures and complete breaks of bone: Following treatment by an orthopedic surgeon, it will often be necessary for a physical therapist to examine the patient’s movement patterns and strength and develop a specialized treatment plan to aid in recovery.
  • Spinal injuries: The number one injury sustained in this case is a “whiplash” injury in which the ligaments about the cervical neck are disrupted. This may cause instability of the neck, pain with motion, and loss in the range of motion. Patients with spinal injuries may need to be evaluated by a physical therapist due to sustaining an injury that causes pain, loss of sensation in the upper extremities, loss of range of motion of the neck, or addressing concerns secondary to paralysis quadriplegia.
  • Concussion and traumatic brain injuries
  • Abdominal tissue injuries
  • Shoulder, arm, pelvis, leg and knee injuries: Shoulder and arm injuries may be related to seat belt injuries resulting in disruption of the shoulder’s normal mechanics. Pelvis and knee injuries may be the result of impacting the knee into the dashboard (in the case of a violent collision) or possible knee ligament injuries resulting from a sudden forceful depression of the brake pedal.



Thanksgiving isn’t only about watching football. Many relatives often get together for friendly games of backyard football too. If you aren’t careful, these games can be a significant source of injuries. According to the CPSC, there were an estimated 1,400 emergency room visits associated with football at Thanksgiving in 2016. 

To avoid sports injuries this Thanksgiving, check out some of these tips

  • Stretch for at least ten minutes before games
  • Wear protective padding
  • Avoid tackle football
  • Stay in good shape throughout the year
  • Keep ice on hand in case of strains or sprains

Some of the most common sports injuries from Thanksgiving Day are head injuries and concussions, broken bones and sprains. Our physicians and surgeons at The Orthopedic Group can treat each of these types of injuries.

  • Wrist and hand injuries: Our physicians and surgeons help diagnose a patient’s injury or discomfort using several methods, including diagnostic testing, surgery and rehabilitation. Their goal is to relieve the discomfort and pain a patient is experiencing, regardless of the patient’s age, occupation or sport.
  • Hip and knee injuries: Our physicians and surgeons work with patients experiencing discomfort and injuries in their lower extremities, excluding the foot and ankle.  Working closely with the patient, primary care physicians and rehabilitation staff, our hip and knee physicians and surgeons can create a treatment plan that will provide the patient with relief and return of function of muscles, nerves, joints and bones. 
  • Foot and ankle injuries: Our foot and ankle physicians and surgeons specialize in the lowest part of the leg and the ankle. They treat the many problems affecting the feet and ankles, including sprains, strains and fractures. 
  • Head injuries and concussions: If you have experienced a head injury or concussion, our sports medicine physicians have extensive knowledge in their diagnosis, treatment and management. 


For a combined 177 years, patients in southwestern Pennsylvania have chosen our orthopedic doctors at The Orthopedic Group for specialized care in joint reconstruction, orthopedic spine, sports medicine, foot and ankle, pain management and physical therapy. We are a community-driven group of physicians that are invested in the health of our community members.  

We hope you stay safe this holiday season, but we also realize that accidents happen. If you suffered an orthopedic injury, please know that we would be happy to help. We will schedule an appointment and discuss our recommended course of action. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with us, contact us online or give us a call at (724) 379-5802. 



Why emergency-room visits spike at Thanksgiving, according to doctors

Home Safe Home for the Holidays: CPSC and Interior Designer Sabrina Soto Share Holiday Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Day – Injury Facts

During Travel Tips | Travelers’ Health

Injuries from Turkey Bowl games a Thanksgiving tradition, doctors say