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Construction, ag workers face risk of on-the-job knee osteoarthritis

Pennsylvania workers' compensation

Construction and agricultural workers face an increased risk of experiencing one of the most common joint disorders in the world – knee osteoarthritis.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney concluded workers in those occupations face a roughly 64 percent higher risk of developing the condition compared to individuals working in jobs with low physical activity, according to an article in Safety + Health.

Workers in the following occupations are most at risk :

  • Agricultural workers
  • Builders and floor layers
  • Metal workers
  • Miners
  • Cleaners
  • Service workers

They are prone to knee injuries because they often engage in physical activity on the job such as:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Frequent climbing
  • Prolonged kneeling
  • Squatting and standing

What is osteoarthritis and what are the symptoms?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the “protective cartilage that cushions the bones wears down over time,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. The damage cannot be reversed.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain that might occur during or after movement of the knee
  • Stiffness in the joints, which often occurs upon awakening or being inactive
  • Tenderness that may be felt if pressure is lightly applied to the knee
  • Loss of flexibility in the knee
  • Grating sensation, such as a popping or crackling sound in the knee
  • Bone spurs forming around the joint, which might feel like hard lumps
  • Swelling caused by inflammation around the knee

How to reduce risk of knee injuries at work

One researcher and author of the study recommended that employers develop preventative strategies to protect the “aging workforce in many countries that push for longer employment trajectories.”

Workers who experience knee osteoarthritis or any type of on-the-job knee injury should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Don’t ignore or try to shake off a sore knee. You might think the condition is minor, but often injuries get worse with time.

How a workers compensation attorney can help

In addition to seeking medical treatment, you will need to notify your employer of the injury within 120 days. Your employer must then file a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

A knee injury workers’ compensation claim can become complicated. Your employer or the workers’ comp insurance company might argue the injury occurred outside of work. You may need time off to recover, but your employer may argue that you should return before you’re ready.

To ensure you get the full compensation and benefits you deserve, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer serving Allentown, Bethlehem, and Lehigh Valley. Vellner Law, PC can meet with you and help maximize your claim.

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