If you have had your job for a long time, you probably know that pain from work is almost a given. Whether sitting at a desk all day or being on your feet for hours at a time, pain is an unfortunate reality of work. One of the most common work-related pains occurs in the knee and the surrounding regions.
Research shows that knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints. The knee is one of the most complex joints in the body and one of the most stressed. When work-related pain starts to focus around your knee, it can be more than just annoying as it can begin to interfere with your ability to do your job. If you’re dealing with work-related pain around your knee, you can do a few things to find relief. Keep reading to learn how you can deal with pain from working.
Common Injuries At Work
Injuries and pain from work mainly occur due to either repetitive stress injuries or one-time injuries. In this section, we will cover each kind of injury with examples.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
These injuries occur due to the repetition of a particular movement over time. You’re likely to experience these injuries if your job involves constant kneeling, squatting, or repeatedly going up and down stairs. Examples of such occupations include factory work, construction, and highly strenuous like nursing.
Tendonitis is the irritation or inflammation of the tendons. If the injury is around your knee, you will experience pain at your kneecap’s base. You may also experience a burning feeling or swelling in the kneecap, making it difficult to squat or kneel.
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of cartilage, the smooth tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint. The injury occurs due to occupational stress, such as carrying heavy loads, extreme movements, and awkward postures.
The wear and tear of this cartilage can cause pain and stiffness in the joints. Although the injury can affect any joint, it commonly affects the hip, knee, and hands. You’ll experience pain in the joint, and it will also lose its flexibility.
These injuries can occur from a single event at work, such as falling, slipping, or turning awkwardly. For instance, you may knock your leg on a table when carrying a heavy load or trip on the stairs. These injuries usually occur due to a sudden movement or impact on the joints and surrounding tissues.
A fracture is a break in the bone. A severe fall or direct blow to your leg can cause a fracture in your knee. You’ll experience pain and swelling in the injured area and will be unable to put any weight on your leg.
A dislocation is an injury in which the bones of a joint shift out of their regular position. A dislocation can occur due to trauma when working, increasing the risk of damage to crucial parts like nerves.
You’ll experience pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. The joint may also appear deformed.
- Meniscus Tear
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage located in the knee. It absorbs shock impulses between the thighbone and the shinbone. A direct blow to the knee can cause this cartilage to tear.
You’ll experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. It may also be difficult to straighten your leg.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries (ACL)
The ACL is a band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and helps to stabilize the knee. An awkward fall or knee twisting can cause this ligament to tear. You’ll experience swelling a few hours after the injury and pain if you try to put weight on the injured leg.
Dealing with Pain from Work
Once you’ve determined the source of your pain, you can start to treat and manage it. Here are a few effective strategies to use;
Arguably the most important, taking time to rest is an incredibly effective thing you can do for recovery when suffering from a knee injury. While you rest, your body has the chance to heal and regenerate.
Avoid activities that stress your pain area, such as running, jumping, and walking long distances. You may need to take some time off from work to rest your injured body parts.
- Wear a Knee Brace
If you have a meniscus tear, an ACL injury, or osteoarthritis, your doctor may recommend wearing a knee brace. A knee brace helps to stabilize the knee and prevent it from moving out of place. It also helps to relieve pain and swelling.
You can find knee braces at most pharmacies or online. Be sure to choose a brace that fits well and is comfortable.
- Use Heat and Cold Therapies
Applying heat or cold to your knee can help to reduce pain and swelling. Heat therapy increases blood flow to the area, which helps to relieve pain. Cold therapy numbs the area and helps to reduce inflammation.
You can use a heating pad, a warm towel, or a hot water bottle for heat therapy. You can use an ice pack, frozen peas, or a bag of ice wrapped in a towel for cold therapy.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around your knee and improve your range of motion. A physical therapist will design a custom exercise program for you, including exercises you can do at home. The program might also include activities that improve your flexibility and balance.
- Medical Intervention
In some cases, your pain may be severe and require medical intervention. Your doctor may recommend taking pain medication or undergoing surgery. Pain medication can help to relieve pain and inflammation; however, it should be avoided if there are alternatives available.
Your doctor may also opt to utilize injections in the painful area(s). Examples of injections include hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids, and platelet-rich plasma. Surgery is usually only recommended if you have a severe injury, such as a meniscus tear or ACL rupture. You may undergo arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure to repair your damaged joint. You may also need total knee replacement surgery if you have severe osteoarthritis.
Enduring pain from work can wreak havoc on your life. Identifying the source of your pain and seeking treatment as soon as possible is essential. Proper treatment and pain management practices can relieve your pain and get you back to living your life. Discuss the option of acquiring a knee brace with your doctor to decide if it is a good option for you and your recovery process. Icarus Medical’s sales reps are happy to discuss your knee pain and how our brace can help.