Meniscus Tear Injuries in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation

Meniscus tear injuries are some of the most common injuries I have seen in my Pennsylvania Workers Compensation practice. That is not all that surprising given the growth in the warehousing and distribution sector. These types of jobs can frequently lead to knee injuries.

What is a meniscus?

Each knee has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that are located between the tibia (shin) and the femur (thigh). The meniscus acts as a cushion to protect the lower part of the leg from the shock created by body weight. The meniscus is made of the medial portion which is located on the inside of the knee and the lateral portion is located sits on the outside of the knee.

What activity can case a meniscus tear?

Meniscus tears can be quite painful injuries. Meniscus tears can happen frequently when there is a twisting or rotational activity of the knee. For instance, let’s use an example an order selector at a warehouse. Frequently, order selectors will load goods onto pallets from running lines. Those activities frequently cause twisting to move the product around. Sudden turning and pivoting can also cause these injuries.
That is not it though. The meniscus wears as we age. Simply stepping the wrong way or squatting and getting up and down can also lead to a tear, particularly in workers over 35 years old. In fact, repetitive twisting and turning during job duties can lead to a tear. One might think that the one twisting event led to the tear, but in reality, it may very well have been long term, repetitive twisting that degenerated the meniscus. Meniscus tears can also happen with direct force to the front or side of the knee.

Frequent Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear

The symptoms of a meniscus tear can vary person to person. Generally, these are some of the common symptoms injured workers may experience with a meniscus tear:

• Pain in the knee;
• Swelling and stiffness in the knee;
• Catching or locking of the knee;
• Difficulty in straightening the knee;
• Feeling of giving away in the knee;
• Popping sensation in the knee;
• Difficulty ascending and descending stairs.

Meniscus tears can be quite painful and cause problems with walking and weight bearing.

Treatment for a Meniscus Tear

First part of treatment of a meniscus tear is diagnosing the tear. That is usually done by a physical examination with a doctor. The physical examination findings may lead the doctor to suspect a meniscus tear. If the doctor suspects a possible tear, then an MRI may be ordered to determine fit here is a tear. MRIs are not perfect. They do not always reveal tears. Arthroscopic surgery utilizing a camera can detect meniscus tears as well.
Treating a meniscus tear will vary person to person. The extent of a tear, age of the patient, and other factors may dictate treatment. Initially, some tears may be treated with ice, pain relievers and inflammation medications. The doctor may order physical therapy to try and resolve the symptoms. Usually a doctor will also provide work restrictions, such as sit down work, to keep the use of the knee at a minimum. If pain persists, the doctor may provide a steroid injection to try and reduce inflammation.

If these conservative measure do not relieve symptoms, then arthroscopic surgery or meniscus repair surgery may be needed. Much of the treatment may be dictated by the severity of the tear and amount of degeneration of the meniscus.

So what do I do if I injured my knee at work?

First, be sure to report the injury to your employer right away. Describe what you were doing when the pain began. Second, seek medical treatment right away. Describe to the doctor what you were doing at work that caused the pain and explain in details the symptoms you are experiencing. Third, call Mooney Law for a FREE CONSULTATION. We can help guide you through complexities of workers’ compensation. Remember, we only recover a fee if we recover for YOU! Call Mooney Law today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656 to speak with me about your work injury. You can visit our website here. You can also email us for a consultation at

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.