25 Oct 16

Why Sports and Workplace Knee Injuries Aren’t the Same



Knee Injury

If you’re a sports fan, it’s hard not to know something about knee injuries. After all, odds are your favorite team has been affected by a torn ACL, a dislocated knee cap, or another acute knee ailment at some point.

In general, knee injuries can be broadly classified as either traumatic (acute) or a result of overuse (cumulative). Traumatic injuries include those resulting from incidents such as falls, impacts or severe twisting that damages the bones, tendons, ligaments or cartilage.

Overuse injuries develop over time as a result of repeated or sustained actions or wear and tear. These injuries often affect the bursa and cartilage in addition to the tendons and ligaments. But this workplace hazard is sometimes overlooked because the debilitation is so gradual.

Just as certain sports are associated with a higher incidence of knee injuries, certain trades such as floor layers, carpet layers, tile setters and roofers have disproportionate rates of knee injury exposure and workers’ compensation claims compared to construction workers in general.

Just as certain sports are associated with a higher incidence of knee injuries, certain trades such as floor layers, carpet layers, tile setters and roofers have disproportionate rates of knee injury exposure and workers’ compensation claims compared to construction workers in general. These workers may spend up to 75 percent of their time on their knees. Consider: The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) estimates that half of all cumulative workplace knee injuries are recorded by low seam miners who work on their knees in cramped conditions.

At last count, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 86,870 occupational knee injuries, including sprains, bruises, fractures, and general soreness/pain.
Knee Sleeve

While athletes can’t do much to prevent acute knee injuries, workers can take their long-term knee health into their own hands more proactively. If changing their work environment or kneeling situation is not an option, they can look at improving the personal protective equipment (PPE) they’re using on the job.

These days, safety workwear companies are designing innovative knee pads that include different lightweight and injected gel technologies to provide better cushioning and more comfort. The right style of knee pad will depend on the specific job a worker is doing. But the caps of modern knee pads about being redesigned to allow workers to do stationary tasks comfortably, rock and lean or slide around when necessary.

Kneed to learn more? Read our new white paper on the value of quality PPE for long-term knee pads.

Knee Pads