It’s not unusual for people as they get older to have trouble with their knees. Many people are able to manage their pain with over-the-counter pain medication like Advil. For others, however, a partial or total knee replacement may be the only solution.

Many people wrongly assume that knee replacement surgery and rehab cannot be covered by workers’ compensation unless they suffered a specific injury to their knee. In fact, you can have worn down knees from “life” (e.g., decades of physical activity, arthritis), but if your job contributes to your condition, your medical care should be covered.  That means 100% of your medical bills. NO co-pays, no out of pocket expenses. Under Illinois law, you’d also be able to get compensated for time off work and get a settlement to compensate you as well.

Not everyone we talk to understands what we mean when we say you can win a work comp case even if you have arthritis and not an accident. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve played competitive sports since you were a child, and you’ve held jobs that require manual labor. You’ve suffered wear and tear on your knees over the years and working at your current job over the last few years has aggravated or accelerated your knee problems. You would likely be entitled to workers’ compensation under Illinois law.  The job has to be a contributing factor, not the only factor.

What types of jobs might accelerate the deterioration of your knees? Studies have shown that the occupations toughest on the knees are in the industries of agriculture, construction, mining, service, and cleaning/housekeeping. Carpenters, bricklayers, and floor installers are particularly at risk.

And what job duties tend to aggravate knee pain and damage? Not surprisingly, excessive kneeling, squatting, lifting, standing, and climbing stairs on the job tend to aggravate workers’ knees.

Knee replacements have come a long way in the last decade or so. Doctors performing the procedure will cut away damaged bone and cartilage from the kneecap, shinbone, and thighbone and replace it with an artificial joint. The new joint is made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers, and is attached with a type of cement. Surgery for a partial or total knee replacement typically lasts 1-3 hours. Short-term recovery, where patients can walk with minimal or no aid, usually occurs within 6-12 weeks. Long-term recovery, where patients can return to work and daily life activities, typically occurs within 3-6 months of the surgery.

If you are in this situation, with arthritis or general wear and tear on your knees that has worsened due to your job, please give us a call. We will listen to your situation and possibly help you ask the right questions to your doctor to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. The overwhelming majority of people who have knee replacements experience relief from pain, improved mobility, and a better quality of life. Let us do our part in helping you get there.