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Preventing Knee Injuries in the Workplace in 2024: Insights from a Top Orthopedic Practice in NJ

February 28th, 2024Knee PainOrthoHC

Given the amount of pressure our knees endure, particularly in the workplace, even minor damage can have significant consequences. Knee injuries, such as bursitis, are not uncommon and can escalate if not addressed promptly. Understanding these common knee disorders can help reduce the risk of aggravating them through repetitive movements. In this blog post, we'll delve into preventing knee injuries in the workplace, offering insights from a leading orthopedic practice in NJ.

Work-Related Knee Injuries at a Glance

Any issue with your knees can significantly impact vital functions like movement, stability, flexibility, and strength. The workplace, whether in factories, stores, homes, or offices, poses numerous potential dangers to your knee health. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, knee injuries were the third most common nonfatal occupational injury resulting in days away from work, comprising over 5% of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses total that year.

The specific tasks you perform at work can directly cause or contribute to various knee injuries, such as bending or stretching. While some of these movements may be unavoidable, you can take steps to reduce their impact or find alternative ways to perform your job. If your work routine is disrupted due to knee pain or discomfort, it is advisable to consult with your doctor. They may recommend a visit to an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist to learn strategies for performing your duties in a way that minimizes the risk of injury.

Work-Related Knee Injuries to Be Aware Of

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) affecting the knee are often the result of falls, bodily reactions, and overexertion. While the specific part of the knee affected and the severity of the disorder can vary, they often present similar symptoms. These may include stiffness, swelling, weakness or instability, warmth, redness, audible cracking or crunching noises during movement, and difficulty fully bending or extending the knee. Prolonged exposure to workplace knee strain can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis over time.

Common work-related knee injuries include:

  • Strains and sprains: Strains involve damage to the connective tissue that connects muscle to bone, often due to repetitive motions. Sprains, or pulled muscles, affect the tissue bands that connect two bones, usually due to twisting.
  • Tendonitis: This condition affects the tendons, which connect muscle to bone, and is often caused by overuse. Tendonitis can occur in various knee tendons, including those around the patella (kneecap), hamstrings (behind the knee), and quadriceps (front of the thigh).
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammatory condition that can lead to swelling in the bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints and facilitate movement. Knee bursitis is commonly associated with prolonged kneeling on hard surfaces.
  • Meniscus tears: The menisci are wedge-shaped cartilage pieces between the upper and lower leg bones that act as shock absorbers. Tears in these cartilage pieces can occur due to falls, repetitive kneeling, heavy lifting, or sudden pivoting.
  • Chondromalacia patellae: This condition involves the softening and deterioration of the cartilage in the knee joint, particularly around the patella. This can cause pain and is often seen in workers who kneel for extended periods, such as carpet layers.

Don't Delay Diagnosis and Treatment for Work-Related Knee Injuries

Knee injuries can occur in any workplace, even in an office setting, and can significantly impact your movement, stability, and overall functionality. If you've experienced a workplace knee injury, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at The Orthopedic Health Center today to receive personalized care and support.

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