Knee injuries are one of the most common preventable injuries in the United States. This type of injury happens to both young and old workers alike, and can have far-reaching effects for those who encounter one.
Like most workplace injuries, knee injuries are often preventable with simple measures. Since even minor knee injuries can plague you for years, it’s always a good idea to keep injury prevention in mind, especially in the workplace.
Here are some simple but effective ways to prevent knee injuries at work so you won’t have to worry about losing time to a work-related injury.
Protect Your Knees
Basic knee protection starts with the right equipment. If your job requires extended periods spent kneeling, use knee pads or a knee cushion to pad and protect your knees from the hard floor.
Knee guards are also necessary if there’s a chance you might fall onto your knees. These protective pads can prevent bruises and even fractures, and they’re typically inexpensive as well. Your employer may provide them to you as part of your protective equipment, so make sure you wear them if you want to keep your knees in good shape and be able to collect on any potential workers’ comp claims..
Wear the Right Footwear
It’s amazing how much strain standing can put on your knees. Because your knees support your entire body’s weight, they can begin to feel the wear and tear after even a few hours on your feet.
Flat shoes with good support are a must for those who spend hours at a time walking or standing. If you’re required to wear a particular type of shoe for work, adding a padded insole may help prevent or alleviate knee pain from excessive standing or walking.
Monitor the Environment
Too often, knee injuries at work are caused by trips or falls due to a messy workspace. Pay attention to things like power cords near areas where people have to walk or awkwardly placed materials or equipment that could pose a tripping hazard.
Having work items stored too low to the ground could also pose a problem since repetitive kneeling can strain the ligaments in the knee. Store items that are needed regularly above knee level to reduce the strain from repetitive bending and lifting.
If you have to be on your feet for extended periods, give your knees a break whenever you can. Gentle stretching and changing your position often can help avoid strain and pain, so make a point to move around regularly.
Continuous kneeling, even with protective equipment, can put a strain on ligaments that surround your knees. Make a point to regularly stand, putting the knee through its full range of motion to relieve the stress on these ligaments.
Listen to Your Body
If you’re feeling pain or discomfort in your knee while working, stop and analyze the situation. Don’t force yourself to work through the pain, because it will likely make the problem worse,
Instead, try to determine what’s causing the pain. Does changing positions help? Does sitting help? Pain is a sign that something’s wrong, so listen to your body to avoid more severe injuries.
As we age, our knees generally lose some flexibility. There are some over-the-counter supplements you may try to help maintain joint mobility.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are often recommended for helping with joint pain. Vitamin D can help keep your bones strong, and it’s easily obtained by eating a diet that’s rich in dark, leafy greens. You can also purchase vitamin D supplements.
Speak with your doctor before taking any supplements for knee injuries or knee pain. Not every supplement is suitable for everyone, and your doctor can advise you on the best option for your needs.
Watch Your Weight
Your knees carry the weight of your entire body, so if you’ve gained weight, they’ll have more to carry. Even an extra ten to twenty pounds of body weight can put a real strain on your knees, so try to keep your weight at a healthy level.
Also, carrying heavy loads can put a strain on your knees and back too. Make sure you minimize the risk to your knees by using the correct lifting and handling procedures.
Use a Brace If Necessary
If you’ve already injured your knee, wear a supportive brace to protect it from further injuries. Braces can’t reverse the damage that’s already done, but they can help the knee while healing by supporting the ligaments and lightening the load on the knee joint.
Strengthen Your Knees
When you strengthen the leg muscles that surround your knees, you can help take the strain off of your knees and keep them healthy for longer. Ask your doctor for specific knee-strengthening exercises to try, or simply incorporate gentle activity into your day.
Walking and swimming are good low-impact exercises that can strengthen your leg muscles and help prevent knee injuries at work.
Don’t Let Knee Injuries Cost You
Minnesotan construction workers are tough and dedicated, but that alone doesn’t protect them from workplace injury. The UCWCP is an excellent alternative to the state offered reporting program and sees many of these injuries on a regular basis.
Even though workplace accidents are common, that doesn’t mean you have less to lose. Letting these incidents go without seeking workers comp can result in lost wages, medical debt, and even being unlawfully let go because of your injury. Don’t let that happen to you!
Hiring a workers compensation lawyer is the best bet for navigating the hard after effects and guaranteeing your financial, physical, and mental well being.
At Sundquist Law Firm, we specialize in getting Minnesota construction workers the justice they deserve. If you’ve been injured on the job, contact Sundquist Law Firm today and get compensated for your injuries.