Knee injuries are common workplace injuries that can cause workers to suffer chronic pain and limitations in movement. Often workers must take months or longer off work while they recover from their injuries. In some cases, the damage to their knees will be permanent. Fortunately, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay your medical bills and lost wages if you suffer a knee injury at your job in New Jersey.
Which Workers Face the Most Risk of a Knee Injury?
Employees who stand on their feet or move around a lot during the course of their workday are more likely to suffer knee injuries. This also increases the likelihood that they will need to file a workers’ compensation claim because their jobs are too physically demanding to continue working until they recover—if they do not become permanently disabled. Workers in these industries are at higher risk of a knee injury:
- Construction workers
- Dock workers
- Delivery workers
- Nurses and other medical care providers
- Wait staff, cooks, and bartenders
- House and office cleaners
- Carpeting and other flooring installers
- Gardeners, landscapers, and outside laborers
- Auto mechanics
- Truck drivers
- Workers in manufacturing industries
What Are Common Knee Injuries You Could Suffer?
Knee injuries can be caused by slip and fall accidents, overuse, repetitive movements, or being hit by hard objects. These injuries can develop and worsen over time. The damage can be to the tendons, ligaments, or bursae—liquid-filled sacs—that surround the knee or its bones, cartilage, and ligaments that form the knee. Common injuries that workers suffer include:
- ACL injury. An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament that connects a person’s shinbone to his thighbone. There is often a popping sound when the tear occurs, and the person can experience pain, swelling, instability, loss of range of motion, and limitations in movement.
- Fractures. The bones in the kneecap can be broken in a vehicle accident or a fall. Symptoms can include pain and swelling at the front of the knee, difficulty moving the knee, and problems walking.
- Torn meniscus. This is one of the most common knee injuries people suffer. It is the tearing of the cartilage lining the knee joint that also acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone. In addition to pain and swelling of the knee, an injured worker can have difficulty straightening his leg, instability, and difficulties walking.
- Knee bursitis. This condition is the inflammation of the bursitis on the outside of the knee joint that enables the ligaments and tendons to move smoothly over the joint. It can cause pain and limitations in movement.
- Chondromalacia. This is a medical disorder that results when the cartilage surrounding the kneecap is damaged by a traumatic injury, overuse, or repetitive movements. A worker can experience pain when walking up and down stairs or sitting for long periods of time.
Treatments for Knee Injuries
The treatment a worker will need for a knee injury will depend on the injury he suffered and its seriousness. Often the treatment will start with less invasive medical treatments and then progress to more extensive ones if the knee injury is not improving enough. Some of the treatments that could be prescribed include:
- Pain medications to relieve the pain and treat the medical condition
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee
- Injections of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or platelet-rich plasma
Did you suffer a knee injury at work? Because these injuries can develop over time, it can be more challenging to prove that your job was the cause of your injury. You need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to prove your right to workers’ compensation benefits. Start an online chat or call our office today to schedule a free consultation with Manfred Ricciardelli to learn how he can assist you in filing your claim for benefits.