Your knees are made up of four things: bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. All of these components keep your thighbone and shinbone connected and provide mobility.
Workers who spend a great deal of time on their feet are susceptible to knee injuries. They can be caused by improper lifting, poor posture, or frequent twisting and bending of the knees. These types of injuries can start out mild and gradually worsen over time without treatment.
How often do knee injuries happen and who is the most at risk?
According to HHS Public Access, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) reported in 2010 that knee injuries accounted for nine percent of all injuries that resulted in one or more days out of work. Additionally, knees were the second most commonly injured body parts, just behind back injuries.
According to other findings:
- The rate of time away from work due to knee injuries was, on average, 10.9 cases per 10,000 full-time employees.
- The rate among state workers was 16.7
- The rate among local government workers was 19.6
- The rate among private industry workers was 9.6
- The rate within the utility sector was 17
- The rate within the construction sector was 13.2
According to BLS, transportation and warehouse employees had the highest rate of knee injuries within the private sector – which was 21.7 cases per 10,000 full-time employees.
The knee injury rate among state or local government employees included:
- Health care and social assistance workers – 34.1
- Justice, public order, and safety activities workers – 35.9
- Police – 39.4
- Firefighters – 63.8
Common knee injuries
Knee injuries often include:
- Fractures: Bones around the knee, including the knee cap, are broken.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries: Injuries to the ACL, which provides stability to your knee joint, are graded from 1 (mild sprain) to 3 (complete tear). This type of injury may require surgery.
- Dislocation: The bones connected by the knee pop out of alignment.
- Meniscal tears: Torn cartilage that connects thighbone and shinbone. These injuries can happen suddenly or slowly due to aging.
- Bursitis: The fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning to the knee joint can become inflamed due to repetitive stress.
- Tendonitis: An injury or inflammation to the patellar tendon.
- Tendon tears: Tears to the patellar tendon due to a fall or hit.
- Collateral ligament injuries: A tear to the ligament that connects the thighbone to the shinbone and is often caused by impact with another person or object.
- Posterior cruciate ligament injuries: This injury can occur when a worker falls on a bent knee and pulls or tears the ligament on the back of the knee.
Your treatment options
No matter how minor it may seem, if your knee injury is compromising your ability to perform your job functions, it is crucial that you report it to your employer and see a doctor. Recovering from a knee injury can require time away from work and costly medical procedures.
Treatment for knee injuries may only require extensive rest, pain medication, and ice. Tears or serious trauma to the knee may require surgery, a knee brace, and physical therapy. If you’re concerned about the cost of medical treatment and lost wages, an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can help.
The legal team at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC will guide you through the complex and often overwhelming process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
To discuss your matter further, contact our law office today.