Work Injuries: How Do You Know if Your Knee Ligament is Damaged?

Man in pain touching his knee while sitting on soft armchair.

A knee injury can have a negative impact on your quality of life

Knee ligament injuries such as ACL tears are some of the most common knee injuries that people sustain on the job. Depending on the type and severity, a knee ligament injury can be painful and debilitating. Treatment typically involves medication, physical therapy, bracing, and/or surgery.

At IMC Bone Doc, our board-certified knee surgeons have over 100 years of combined experience helping those suffering from various knee injuries. In addition, we offer immediate appointments, allowing patients to receive their medical care at one of our seven offices conveniently located in New York City and Long Island.

We accept insurance coverage and work with workers' compensation insurance if you are hurt at work. Contact us online or by phone today to learn more about how we can help you.

What is a knee ligament injury?

A knee ligament injury is an injury to one or more of the ligaments in the knee joint.

The knee joint is made up of four main ligaments: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

These ligaments provide stability and support to the knee joint. An injury to one or more of them can cause pain, swelling, instability, and difficulty with walking or other activities.

Treatment for a knee ligament injury may include rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

What are the symptoms of a knee ligament injury?

The symptoms of a knee ligament injury can vary depending on the specific ligament that is injured and the severity of the damage. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain: The knee may be sore or tender to the touch. Pain can be severe or mild.
  • Swelling: The knee may be swollen or feel tight.
  • Stiffness: The knee may be difficult to move or bend.
  • Bruising: The knee may be bruised or discolored.
  • Instability: The knee may feel loose or "give way."
  • Popping or snapping: Some people may hear a popping or snapping sound when the ligament is injured.
  • Limited range of motion: The knee may be hard to fully extend or bend.
  • Difficulty walking or weight bearing: Depending on the severity of the injury, the individual may have difficulty putting weight on the knee or walking.

It's important to note that these symptoms can be seen in other types of knee injuries, not only knee ligament injuries, and should be evaluated by a medical professional to get an accurate diagnosis.

How is a knee ligament injury diagnosed?

A knee ligament injury is typically diagnosed by a physical examination and imaging tests. During the physical examination, a doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and will then evaluate your knee.

The doctor may check for swelling, tenderness, and instability and test the knee's range of motion and strength. They may also perform specific tests, such as the Lachman test, anterior drawer test, and pivot shift test, to check the integrity of the ligaments.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scans, can help confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the injury. For example, X-rays can show bone fractures or other injuries, while MRI or CT scans can provide detailed images of the soft tissues, such as the ligaments. After the diagnosis, the doctor will determine the severity of the injury and the appropriate course of treatment, which may include surgery.

What workers are most at risk of a knee ligament injury?

Jobs involving repetitive kneeling or kneeling for prolonged periods, heavy lifting, and twisting or turning the knee can put workers at risk of knee ligament injuries.

Some examples of jobs that may suffer the most knee ligament injuries include:

  • Construction workers: Jobs that involve kneeling and heavy lifting, such as bricklaying or tile setting, can put too much stress on the knee ligaments.
  • Factory workers: If your work involves repetitive motions, such as working on an assembly line, it can lead to knee ligament injuries.
  • Nurses and healthcare workers: It's common for nurses and other healthcare workers to have prolonged periods of kneeling, which can put stress on the knee ligaments.
  • Athletes and physically active occupations: Any jobs that involve regular running, jumping, and turning motions, such as professional athletes, dancers, and personal trainers, increase the risk of suffering a knee ligament injury.
  • Warehouse and delivery workers: These jobs typically involve heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and carrying heavy loads—all of which can lead to a knee ligament injury.

It's important to note that knee ligament injuries can happen in any job or activity that stresses the knee. If you think you've suffered a work-related knee injury, don't try to diagnose yourself. Instead, get checked out by a doctor to receive an appropriate diagnosis.

Schedule an appointment at IMC Bone Doc

At IMC Bone Doc, our New York orthopedic knee surgeons can help you get back on your feet. With seven offices in Greater New York City and Long Island, we know how the New York workers' compensation system works and can provide you with exceptional medical care. Make an appointment today. Many of our doctors have immediate appointments available. Contact us online or call us to learn more about how we can help you recover from a knee injury.

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