Knee injuries at work

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Types of knee injuries

      • Knee sprain
        • A knee sprain is when one of the four knee ligaments (tissues that hold bones together) overstretches/tears
        • Symptoms:
          • Knee ligament pain
          • Swelling
          • Instability
          • Difficulty bending and straightening the knee
        • Causes:
          • Force through the knee
          • Sudden twisting
      • Meniscal tear
        • Torn cartilage in the knee
        • The menisci are two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as “shock absorbers” between your thighbone and shinbone
          • They are tough and rubbery to help cushion the knee and help keep it stable
        • Symptoms:
          • Pain
          • Stiffness and swelling
          • Catching/locking of the knee
          • Sensation of your knee “giving way”
          • Not able to move the knee through full range of motion
        • Cause:
          • Sudden meniscal tears are typically associated with squatting and twisting or direct contact
          • Older people may tear menisci more easily – maybe even an awkward twist when getting up from a chair
      • ACL tear
        • About half of all injuries to the ACL occur along with damage to other parts of the knee as well
        • Symptoms:
          • Pain with swelling
          • Loss of full range of motion
          • Tenderness along joint line
          • Discomfort while walking
          • Popping noise at time of injury
          • May feel knee give out
        • Cause:
          • Changing direction rapidly
          • Stopping suddenly
          • Slowing down while running
          • Landing from a jump incorrectly
          • Direct contact or collision

Treatment of knee injuries:

      • Knee sprain
        • Occasionally surgery is required
        • Generally PRICE is followed (protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
        • NSAIDs
        • Diagnosis
          • May need x-rays or MRI
      • Meniscal tear
        • Diagnosis
          • Physical examination – McMurray test (doctor will bend knee and then straighten and rotate it causing a clicking sound if meniscus is torn)
          • X-rays or MRIs may be used to make sure that nothing else has been damaged
        • Treatment
          • Nonsurgical
            • If your tear is small and on the outer edge of your meniscus that receives blood flow, you just need to rest, ice, compression, and elevation
          • Surgical
            • If symptoms persist with nonsurgical treatment, arthroscopic surgery may be suggested
      • ACL tear
        • Diagnosis
          • Doctor will check all of the structures of your injured knee and compare them to your non-injured knee
          • X-rays and MRIs can be used, though not always necessary
        • Treatment
          • Nonsurgical
            • A torn ACL will not heal without surgery, but if the patient is old or has a low level of activity and the overall stability isn’t too bad, bracing and physical therapy may be used
          • Surgical
            • Most of the time, the ligament cannot just be sewn back together, so the surgeon will take a graft of tissue from another tendon in the body to allow the ligament to grow back with supportKnee injury

Have you or your loved one suffered from a knee injury while you were on the job? Common knee injuries include sprains, meniscal tears, and ACL tears. These knee injuries can range from slightly annoying to completely debilitating and we know that this can be a frustrating time for you and your family. If you feel like you need extra support to handle the doctors and insurance companies that don’t seem to have your best interests at heart, we at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm would love to help you. We deal with workers’ compensation cases like this involving all sorts of injuries and we believe that you deserve the best possible care during this recovery period.

A common knee injury is a sprain. A knee sprain is what happens when one of the four ligaments that make up your knee – ligaments are tissues that hold bones together – becomes overstretched or sometimes even tears. This can be very painful and can happen very quickly. Typically, sprained knees are caused by a direct force to your knee such as something falling on your knee or running into your knee, or a sudden twisting motion that could be caused by a slip or a fall. The symptoms of a sprained knee are pain in the ligament, difficulty in moving the knee through its’ full range of motion, a feeling of being unstable, and swelling.

When you go to the doctor for a sprained knee, typically a physical examination of the knee ligaments will occur. The doctor may put pressure on certain parts of your knee or try to bend it in certain ways to discover where the pain is coming from and the degree of your injury. Sometimes x-rays will be done to make sure that a broken bone is not causing the pain, and MRIs are sometimes done when the doctor is unsure of how serious the tear is or where it is specifically. Occasionally surgery is required if the ligament is completely torn, but more often than not, a conservative approach is followed first including ice, rest, bracing, and elevation.

A meniscal tear is another common knee injury that can happen while in the workplace. This refers to a tearing of the menisci cartilage that are wedge-shaped and absorb the shock between your thighbone and shinbone. These pieces of cartilage are rubbery and tough to allow for cushioning of your knee and stability. Meniscal tears can be caused suddenly from squatting and twisting or a direct blow to the knee. As you get older, cartilage wears thin and with time, even turning your knee awkwardly as you get out of a chair can tear your meniscus. The symptoms of a torn meniscus are knee pain, catching/locking of the knee, not having a full range of motion, and a sensation of your knee “giving out”.

There is a specific test, the McMurray test, which a doctor will perform to determine whether your knee pain is being caused by a meniscal tear. The doctor will bend your knee and then straighten and rotate it, and if the meniscus is torn, there will be a clicking sound every time it is rotated. X-rays or MRIs may be done to make sure that the rest of the knee has not been damaged depending on the injury. Depending on where your tear is (on the inner or outer part of the meniscus), treatment may include surgery. If the meniscal tear is small and is on the outer part of your meniscus, rest, ice, compression, and elevation may be recommended. If symptoms persist with conservative treatment, arthroscopy may be suggested. The doctor may trim off the torn part of the meniscus or sew the meniscus back together depending on the injury.

Finally, ACL tears are another kind of common knee injury. The anterior cruciate ligament is the most commonly torn ligament in the knee and can have a major impact on the knee’s ability to perform normally. ACL tears are usually caused by stopping suddenly, a direct blow to the knee, changing direction rapidly, and landing from a jump incorrectly. These are mostly athletic-type movements that you may be performing at work. The high stress environment may cause your knees to be hurt more easily. The symptoms of an ACL tear include tenderness at the joint line, popping noise at the time of the injury, pain with swelling, and pain while walking.

An ACL tear can almost always be diagnosed with a physical examination, but because half of all ACL tears occur with other types of knee damage, x-rays and MRIs may be done to rule out other injuries as well. A torn ACL will not heal on its’ own without surgery, but sometimes people opt out of the surgery. For the elderly or people with low activity levels that are not experiencing severe instability, bracing and physical therapy can be used instead of surgery. For a full recovery, the surgeon will do a knee arthroscopy and use a tissue graft from another tendon to allow the ligament to grow back with support. It may take up to six months for the ligament to regrow, which means a long recovery time.

Having a knee injury can seriously impact your quality of life because it affects the most basic movement of walking. You deserve to be heard and understood and we are here to help. Call the Dan Pruitt Law Firm today at 8642324273 to set up your complimentary consultation.

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