Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers require emergency treatment for knee injuries sustained on the job. Occupational knee injuries are both common and serious. In fact, knee injuries are second only to back injuries as the most likely injury to result in time away from work.
If you have fallen on concrete and suffered a knee injury, you might be in pain and unable to work. You may also need quite a bit of medical and rehabilitative treatment before you can start feeling normal again.
Common Knee Injuries
Your knee is the largest joint in your body and it is made up of several important pieces. These include bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, any of which can be injured in a fall.
The most common knee injuries are fractures, sprains, dislocations, and ligament tears. Knee injuries may cause bruising, swelling, and pain. Depending on the injury, your knee may feel like it has “locked up” or it may feel wobbly and unstable.
The patella, or kneecap, is the most likely bone in the knee joint to be fractured in a fall. The role of the patella bone is to protect the rest of your knee joint from injury, so it is often the first bone to break if you fall on your knees onto a hard surface.
In addition to bruising and pain, a patellar fracture may make it difficult or impossible to walk or straighten your leg. Treatment and recovery depend on the severity of the break and may range from wearing a cast for two months to knee surgery.
Even when treatment is successful, a kneecap fracture can have long-lasting consequences on your health. After a knee injury, some patients have complications such as arthritis, muscle weakness, and chronic pain.
Tendons attach muscles to bone. In your knee, the quadriceps tendon and the patella tendon connect your thigh and shin muscles to your kneecap. Both tendons are at risk of tearing in a hard fall.
When a tendon tears, you may feel a pop, followed by pain and swelling. You may not be able to straighten your knee. Repairing a torn tendon may require surgery and physical therapy.
Four ligaments in the knee are especially vulnerable to sprains or tears. They are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral cruciate ligament (LCL), and medial cruciate ligament (MCL). Together, the ACL and PCL connect your thigh and shin bones and control the forward and backward motion of your knee. Your LCL and MCL are found on the sides of your knee and control sideways motion.
A ligament sprain or tear may cause you to feel a popping sensation. You will also experience pain and swelling and may discover that your knee is wobbly or unstable.
Ligaments will not heal on their own. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to have surgery to repair a torn knee ligament. As you recover, you might have to wear a knee brace and limit certain activities.
Your meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage that helps to cushion your knee joint. A sudden fall with a twisting motion may cause a tear in your meniscus. Although you might feel a pop, you may still be able to walk following a meniscus tear, but you may experience worsening pain and swell over the course of the next few days.
You may or may not require surgery to treat a torn meniscus. An orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your injury and take your activity level into consideration when suggesting a course of treatment.
Treating a Knee Injury
If you have fallen and hurt your knee, the first course of treatment should be RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For the best shot at a full recovery, it’s extremely important to seek professional medical care as soon as you can.
Compensation for Knee Injuries
Knee injuries from falling on concrete are often quite painful and the recovery time can be quite long. Medical bills for MRIs and consultations with orthopedic surgeons will stack up quickly, and you may be unable to work to earn a living.
If your knee injury happened on the job or as a result of someone’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages for your medical bills and lost wages. At the law office of Worcester personal injury lawyer Peter Ventura, we can help you pursue worker’s compensation benefits and personal injury damages for your knee injury. Please contact us right away to arrange a free, no-risk consultation.