All that kneeling, standing, squatting, lifting and climbing stairs has taken a toll on your body, especially the knees. This job-related wear and tear has accelerated the decline in the joint and potentially led to the degenerative joint disease known as knee osteoarthritis.
Now, you likely need knee replacement surgery. It may provide the best option for recovery, which may take as long as three months. This likely means a great amount of time away from work and the right time to seek and collect workers’ compensation benefits.
A global problem among workers
Around the world, knee osteoarthritis represents one of the leading causes of missed work and disability. Cartilage in the knee bone erodes, leading to bones rubbing together, causing discomfort, pain and loss of mobility.
Total knee replacement may be the only option. In such surgery, damaged bone and cartilage are cut away and replaced with a prosthetic joint made of metal and plastics. If work-related, total knee replacements result in significant amounts of worker’s compensation benefits–including 2/3 of wages when off work and a 50% Permanent Partial Disability rating at a minimum.
Occupations most susceptible to knee injuries
A study conducted by three universities in the United Kingdom and Australia disclosed the need for employers to focus more on work health and safety practices and not just for the more physical jobs.
According to the study, here is a list of workers who are more susceptible to knee injuries, knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement:
- Floor layers
- Agriculture workers
- Construction workers
- House workers
- Service workers
- Machine operators
Knee injuries may include those related to tendons and ligaments. Workers know that a serious knee injury can have long-lasting effects. The key is whether a physician supports a workers job duties as being a causative element in the need for the total knee replacement. It is extremely important for a worker to talk to the physician about your specific job duties.
Knee replacements can be work-related
Many workers think that only traumatic (one-time) events can result in a worker’s compensation claim. However, a worker’s job duties over a period of time (even if just a day of strenuous activity) can be work-related under Wisconsin law.