Work-Related Knee Injuries
Bones in the Knee
Knees are a complex part of our body. The knee is a joint that has many parts including bones, cartilage, a meniscus, and ligaments. Three bones in your leg meet up to for the joint in your knee. The thighbone (also known as the femur), the shinbone (also known as the tibia) and the kneecap (also known as the patella). Injuries to the bones that make up your knees are the most common type of knee injuries. Fractures or broken bones in and around the patella frequently happen after a traumatic work-related or other accidents. Dislocations in the knee occur when the bones in the knee move out of place.
Knee Cartilage & Meniscus
The ends of these bones are covered with something called cartilage which helps lubricate the bones so that they do not rub against one another improperly and so that you can bend your knee properly. In addition, your knee has a “meniscus” which consists of cartilage that helps cushion the space between your femur and your tibia. Injuries to the meniscus are quite common. Meniscal tears very often happen while playing sports. We frequently see meniscal tears due to abrupt twisting, lifting and awkward positioning while working.
The knee has two ligaments, the collateral ligament, and the cruciate ligament. Ligaments connect the bones. The collateral ligament connects allows you to move side to side. Cruciate ligaments allow you to move back and forth. Muscles around your knee are connected to to the bones by tendons. Tendons, both quadriceps and patellar tendons, can be stretched and can tear. As we get older, our tendons become more susceptible to tears when we engage in vigorous physical activity. In addition, trauma to the front of the knee, awkward landings and other movements can cause tendon tears.
Signs of a Knee Injury
Any of the following sensations could mean that you have a knee injury:
- Popping and the sensation of the knee giving out
- Any acute and severe pain
- Inability to move the knee & limping
- Swelling in any part of the knee
How do doctors treat knee injuries?
Non-Surgical Treatment (Conservative Treatment)
Usually, doctors will try to use simple methods to treat knee injuries and, in fact, many times these treatments are enough to resolve the symptoms:
- Immobilization and rest.
- In some cases, your physician may suggest that you wear a brace and/or may have you use crutches or some other type of weight bearing device.
- It is very common for doctors to recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy consists of particular exercises that are designed to increase strength and mobility in the knee.
- Medications -- typically aspirin and Ibuprofen.
- Physical therapy. Specific exercises will restore function to your knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.
If conservative treatment is not helpful, the surgery may be necessary. By way of example, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary if you have an ACL tear and, in some cases, surgery is used as a method to determine the exact nature of your injury because surgery provides a better view of your injury.
Knee Injuries and Virginia Workers Compensation
Along with back and shoulder injuries, knee injuries are one of the most common injuries we see in workers compensation cases in Virginia. Many issues can arise in knee injury cases. For example, the exact manner in which the injury occurred is often scrutinized heavily in Virginia Workers Compensation claims because of the narrow way that accidents are defined in Virginia. It is not as simple as identifying a particular twist or movement to prevail in Virginia. In addition, if an injured worker had a prior knee injury, what lawyers call “causation issues” frequently arise in these cases.
Need help? Call our law firm for a free consultation.
If you have a knee injury and need medical treatment because the injury is the result of a work-related injury, it is important to understand the legal requirements for proving the type of injury that you have, that it was caused by your injury and proving the type of medical treatment that is necessary to help you recover. We have handled many back injury cases before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. We are here to help! Do not hesitate to contact our law office for a free consultation to discuss your accident and injury.