Torn Meniscus Injuries in Pennsylvania Workers Comp 

Torn meniscus injuries are frequent in Pennsylvania workers compensation claims.  It is the most common knee injury I see in my practice. The medial and lateral menisci are two large C-shaped cartilages that are positioned on the top of the tibia bone at the knee. It is a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your femur and tibia. There are two menisci in each knee.

What types of activity causes meniscus to tear?

Typically, torn meniscus in workers’ compensation cases occur with a forceful twist, repetitive squatting, slip and fall and landing on knee, and in many cases, injured workers experience traumatic tears in the meniscus due to the process of aging.  The older we get, the more cartilage breaks down and it makes knee joints more susceptible to tears. In fact, many times a minor meniscus tear may have been present prior to the work injury, but the injured worker never realized it or experienced any symptomology until a triggering event at work.

Young workers also experience meniscus tears.  These frequent type of activities include standing in a bent-knee position, turning quickly, or twisting on planted feet. Heavy lifting and unloading trucks are common causes for this knee injury while at work.

What type of symptoms do meniscus tears cause?

Many times, particularly with degenerative tears, there may be no symptoms at all until an event occurs that causes symptoms.  Usually though, injured workers know when the injury occurs.  It causes immediate pain in the knee, swelling in the knee, and may injured workers report hearing or feeling a pop in the knee.  As the days progress, the injured worker may experience difficulty bending or straightening the knee, difficulty in weight bearing on the knee, difficulty walking on the knee, and a feeling or tendency of the knee locking up.  More progressive tears also cause a feeling of ‘giving away’ in the knee.

What is the treatment for a meniscus tear?

First, meniscus tears are usually confirmed by diagnostic testing, such as X-Rays and MRIs, and by clinical examination by your doctor.  Initial treatment may include rest, work restrictions, and medication.  Frequently injured workers may also go through a regiment of physical therapy to treat the tear.  Degenerative tears can sometimes be treated with different types of injections as well.

If conservative treatment modalities due to relieve the symptoms, then surgery may be required to repair the tear.  In more advanced tears that may be part of a significant degenerative process, a last resort surgery may be a total knee replacement.

What workers compensation benefits am I entitled to for a torn meniscus?

Injured workers are entitled to wage loss benefits while out of work or when the employer can’t accommodate light duty restrictions and payment of medical bills that are necessary and causally related to the work injury.  Often times, particularly in older workers, benefits are denied by the insurance carrier.  If that occurs, the injured worker should immediately call Mooney Law to schedule an absolutely free consultation to discuss filing a claim petition to fight for the benefits and protect the rights of an injured worker.  You can contact Mooney Law right away at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP to schedule a free consultation.  We have litigated many, many torn meniscus cases and recovered benefits and settlements for injured workers with a torn meniscus injury.  Visit my firm on the web at

Mark Buterbaugh

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