Taking a fall is the last thing on your mind as you head down the stairs to the snack room for your morning break. However, the overhead light at the curve in the stairway has gone out.
You misjudge the step and stumble and fall, injuring your knee. At first, you only feel some pain and tenderness. But by nightfall, your knee is swollen and causing you considerable discomfort. You decide it’s best to see a doctor.
The main cause of knee problems
Some knee problems result from underlying health conditions, such as osteoporosis, but sudden injuries are the most common cause of knee issues. When you fall, your knee could suffer a direct blow if you hit the ground or a hard object. Many knee injuries also result from an abnormal twisting motion, during a trip or a falling accident, or while performing routine tasks in the course of work.
You might be “lucky” enough to have a simple sprain, which will heal relatively quickly. But you could also experience a torn ligament or tendon, a fracture of the kneecap, or even a dislocated knee – a rare but severe injury that requires immediate medical attention.
A serious knee injury requires prompt medical attention
The medial collateral ligament injury is the most common ligament injury. The MCL is a band of tissue that connects the lower leg to the thigh bone. Its purpose is to keep the knee from bending sideways. The MCL can tear when changing direction suddenly, or when the knee is struck from the side. But it can also occur from simple bending and twisting movements, even if you have never had a previous problem with your knee joint. A minor MCL injury may heal with rest, but a serious MCL tear may require surgery.
Symptoms of greater harm
As your pain increases following your fall on the stairs, you will likely find it increasingly difficult to move your knee. Upon examination, your doctor will classify the injury as a Grade 1, or mild, injury; a Grade 2, or moderate, injury; or a severe Grade 3 injury that might require you to wear a brace for several months. You will also have to limit the weight you place on your leg for up to six weeks, unless you need surgical repair, which could mean many months of rehabilitation before you can return to work.
Helping you heal
You will want to file a claim for worker’s compensation, to cover all related medical expenses as well as lost wages. In addition, you may have a claim against a third party, such as the owner of the office building where you work. That individual or entity may be liable for additional damages not available under workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.
An experienced personal injury attorney will see that you receive full compensation from every source. Meanwhile, your job is to focus on recovering, a task that will be easier when you have an advocate by your side to help with the legal and insurance matters.