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Meniscus Tear and Missouri Workers’ Compensation

If you have injured your knee on the job and are being denied benefits, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.

One of the most complicated joints in your body, the knee, comprises several components that all work together to provide the strength needed to support your weight and the flexibility needed to move around easily. The meniscus cushions the knee to help keep it steady, but it is prone to tearing from a number of work-related activities.

If you have injured your knee in a work-related accident or from overuse, a physician will examine the knee for signs of meniscus tears. This is a painful injury that, if not treated immediately, can cause damage to other areas of the knee joint. If you are unsure if your knee pain or meniscus tear is covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, ask James M. Hoffmann for his advice. If the tear is related to your job, you have every right under Missouri law to expect your employer to cover the cost of the necessary medical treatment.

Knee Injuries and Missouri Workers

With the amount of stress we put our knees under, it should be no surprise that this is a commonly reported workplace injury. Warehouse employees, construction workers, plumbers, and carpenters are all at risk for overuse injury to the knee, which could lead to a meniscus tear. Workplace accidents can also lead to knee injuries, especially car accidents and slips and falls. Since the knee is compromised of so many different components, it is impossible to tell which area or areas of the joint have been damaged until a physician can perform an exam.

What is a Meniscus Tear?

Anatomy of the Meniscus

  • Location: Inside the knee joint.
  • Structure: Each knee has two C-shaped cartilage discs known as the meniscus.
  • Function: Acts as a stabilizer and shock absorber for the knee.

Causes of a Meniscus Tear

  • Trauma: Any forceful twisting or sudden movements can tear the meniscus.
  • Occupational Risk: Prevalent in jobs requiring repetitive knee use like lifting heavy objects or prolonged kneeling.

Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear

  • Swelling: Often occurs in the knee area soon after the injury.
  • Pain: Acute and localized in the knee, especially when moving.
  • Limited Mobility: Difficulty fully bending or straightening the knee, often accompanied by a locking sensation.

High-Risk Occupations

  • Heavy Lifters: Workers who frequently lift heavy objects are at higher risk.
  • Plumbers and Carpet Layers: Professions that involve extensive kneeling or squatting increase the risk of a meniscus tear.

How is a Meniscus Tear Diagnosed?

Recognition of Symptoms

  • Immediate Pain: Feeling a sudden and sharp pain in the knee.
  • Knee Instability: Sensation of the knee giving out, hindering the ability to walk without pain.
  • Reporting: It is crucial to report the incident to an employer when these symptoms are noticed during work.

Employer Involvement

  • Healthcare Direction: The employer will provide a list of healthcare providers covered under their workers’ compensation insurance for treatment.

Medical Examination

  • Visual and Physical Assessment: The doctor examines for signs of swelling or tenderness along the knee’s joint line, where the meniscus is located.
  • Functional Testing: The physician manipulates the knee by bending, straightening, and rotating it to identify abnormal sounds or movements, like a clicking sound that suggests a tear.

Confirmatory Imaging Tests

  • Objective: To confirm a meniscus tear and identify other potential injuries.
  • Methods: This procedure typically involves MRI scans or other imaging techniques to obtain a clear view of the knee’s internal structures.

How are Meniscus Tears Treated?

Your treatment plan will depend on the type of tear you have, where it is located, the size, and any other injuries to the knee. Some individuals will be prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory medications as the injury heals independently. You will not be permitted to apply any pressure to the knee during this time, probably making it impossible to work.

Claiming Work Comp for a Meniscus Tear

You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain a meniscus tear injury due to your job. These should cover all your medical costs and pay a portion of your wages during recovery. If you are being denied further treatment for a meniscus tear or do not believe you are being paid correctly, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today at (314) 361-4300.

Work-Related Injuries