For California workers, the most common lower extremity injury is to the knee. While knee injuries can be more common in some industries like construction, manufacturing, or agriculture, a work-related knee injury can happen in any workplace environment. In the workers’ compensation system, an injury is considered work-related if an injury or exposure at work caused the condition or aggravated a pre-existing condition.
Work-Related Knee Injuries
Knee injuries can happen in many ways at work. Heavy lifting, slips, falls, tripping or just becoming unbalanced due to a work-related incident, manual labor, as well as wear and tear over time, can all lead to workplace knee injuries. In many cases, over time due to age and injuries, the cartilage in the knee can begin to wear down, causing pain, arthritis, and swelling. Chronic knee pain can make it difficult to work and live your life. Some of the most common work-related knee injuries include:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear
- Chondromalacia Patellae: this happens when the cartilage covering the kneecap is damaged after falling directly on the knee.
- Dislocated or fractured kneecap
- Meniscus Tears ( Tears in the knee): caused by forceful twisting or hyper-flexing of the knee joint.
Treating Knee Injuries
While rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for a minor knee injury or arthritis flare, you shouldn’t ignore a more serious injury. Be sure to seek medical attention for any sudden or ongoing knee pain. Possible treatments may include:
- Immobilizing the knee can help stabilize the knee and prevent further injury.
- Anti-inflammatory medication can help knee injuries involving swelling and bursitis.
- You may need a surgical consultation for more serious ligament or meniscus tears.
- Some serious injuries involving multiple areas of the knee or high impact injuries may need surgery immediately.
What Do I Do Next?
First, see a doctor for immediate treatment. Then, if your knee injury is related to your job, whether the result of an accident or the result of repetitive use, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. It’s important to remember that your employer is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This should not be an adversarial process with your employer. Rather, you should let the experienced workers’ compensation professionals at the RSnyder Law Firm negotiate with the insurance company to protect your rights. Call us at (949) 484-0175 to schedule a free consultation.
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