While most of us don’t think about our knees on a daily basis, an accident or cumulative strain at your Georgia workplace may cause you to suffer an injury that puts you in pain, limits your quality of life, or affects your movement.
Whether your injury occurred over time (as many do) or during an accident at work, it’s essential to accurately connect them to your employment history to make sure that your Georgia employer and their insurance company are providing you with the benefits you deserve. While this can be a difficult process, one of our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at Gearhart Law Group can assist you in overcoming these challenges.
Am I At Risk for a Work-Related Knee Injury?
Workers who frequently perform manual labor are at an increased risk for developing knee injuries. High-risk professions for knee injuries include construction workers, painters, carpenters, nurses, and delivery drivers. If you work in these professions, or similar professions, you may be at a greater risk of developing a knee injury.
Gearhart Law Group frequently represents these common Georgia workplace knee injuries:
- Arthritis (changes to the bone in your knee)
- Chondromalacia (breakdown of the cartilage in your knee)
- Ligament Injuries (tears and sprains of the ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL)
- Meniscus Injuries (tears and sprains)
- Fractures of The Leg or Patella (kneecap)
- Bursitis and Tendinitis
If you have dislocated, strained, torn, or otherwise injured your knee joint, contact the Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at The Gearhart Law Group. We can help you determine if your injury is due to your employment and what medical professionals in your area can give you the best treatment possible.
What Kind of Injuries to My Knee Can I Suffer At My Georgia Workplace?
Much like the elbow joint, your knee joint is made up of three bones – the upper leg or thigh bone (femur), lower leg bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella). The ends of your bones are covered with cartilage which is an elastic material that is made to absorb shock and allows your knee bones to glide easily as your knee moves.
Because the knee supports weight from the rest of your body, it’s especially prone to injuries in the workplace. Many knee injuries result from repetitive stress over time, especially with awkward bending and twisting movements. However, sudden and uncontrolled movements may instantly result in knee injuries while at your Georgia workplace
It’s important to have your injury diagnosed by a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for you.
The term arthritis refers to inflammation and pain within joints of the body. There are two common types of arthritis: osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and while both can be seriously debilitating, osteoarthritis (OA) is more likely to be involved with your work history.
Most people will develop OA in small amounts throughout their lifetime. However, excessive stress to joints due to repetitive movements can seriously accelerate the process and lead to symptoms of OA at an early age.
Another common knee condition is chondromalacia, which refers to softening and breakdown of the cartilage lining your knee joint. Much like OA, chondromalacia usually occurs due to excessive stress during repetitive movements like sports or work activity.
The most common symptom of chondromalacia is pain that worsens with movement. This can be especially true during movements like kneeling, squatting, and going up or down stairs. If irritation of the knee is consistent, inflammation and swelling may be present.
Ligaments are strong bands that connect bones to other bones, and there are several that work to provide stability in your knee joint. Commonly injured ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
The most common cause of ligament injury in the knee is sudden and uncontrolled bending, twisting, or extending (straightening) of the knee. These injuries are especially common during falls, but may also occur during slipping, getting in/out of a vehicle, or heavy lifting
The medial and lateral menisci in your knee are cartilaginous pads that help with smooth movement and shock absorption. Because of their position within the knee, they are especially prone to work-related injuries.
Injuries of the medial or lateral meniscus typically occur due to a sudden twisting motion, such as a slip or fall. However, because the menisci act as shock absorbers, tears may also develop slowly over time, wearing down the cartilage with repetitive bending and twisting movements at work.
Fractures of the leg or patella (kneecap)
Knee fractures can occur in the thigh bone (femur), lower leg bone (tibia), or kneecap (patella). Some of the most common types of fractures are stress fractures, non-displaced fractures, and displaced fractures.
Stress fractures, also called hairline fractures, are small cracks in a bone that develop due to excessive stress. These can occur suddenly, but often occur slowly over time with excessive workload.
Non-displaced fractures can be more serious than stress fractures without causing shifting of the bone, while displaced fractures show clear changes in the shape of the bone. These fractures typically occur instantly during a serious injury such as a fall or motor vehicle accident.
Symptoms of stress fractures typically include pain with repetitive use and weight bearing, while symptoms of more serious non-displaced or displaced fractures will include severe pain, swelling, and inability to move the affected area.
It’s important to note that fractures cannot be accurately diagnosed without use of medical imaging such as an X-ray. If you suspect you have a fracture, talk to your doctor about medical imaging immediately.
Bursitis and Tendinitis
In addition to the bones and cartilage of your knee joint, several fat pads (called bursae) and tendons assist with movement and insulation of your knee. Common issues with these structures are bursitis and tendinitis.
Bursitis refers to inflammation of a bursa, while tendinitis refers to inflammation of a tendon. Symptoms typically include pain with knee movement, especially squatting or kneeling, and may involve very prominent swelling of the knee joint that is tender to touch.
Similar to stress fractures or chronic meniscus tears of the knee, inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis commonly develop due to repetitive stresses like squatting, kneeling, driving, and heavy lifting.
Are There Treatments Available for My Knee?
All conditions listed above can be treated with the help of trained healthcare professionals. The course of your treatment will vary depending on your diagnosis, so seeking an accurate diagnosis is essential.
In many cases, your medical doctor will recommend physical therapy to treat your knee condition and help get you back to your normal activities. Treatments in physical therapy may include specific manual therapies, strengthening exercises, and movement retraining focused on reducing pain and improving function. Your physical therapist may also recommend adaptive equipment such as a brace to help with returning to work activities.
More serious injuries, such as a complete ligament rupture or displaced fracture, may require surgical intervention for reconstruction or hardware placement. In this case, your surgeon may or may not recommend physical therapy immediately. However, full return to work will likely require treatment and clearance from a rehabilitation professional.
Contact an Atlanta Knee Injury Lawyer
The Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at The Gearhart Law Group represent victims of work-related injuries and assist them in receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Our lawyers understand how your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance companies try to save money by either denying your claim or by underpaying your claim. We know how to fight any objections they may have and pursue all the Georgia workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us now so we can evaluate your individual case and advise you of your next legal steps as well as ensuring you are receiving the best medical care for your injuries.