When a worker sustains trauma to the knee on the job, an MCL injury may result. If this occurs, the worker may require treatment to recover, and if he or she misses work or temporarily returns to a lesser-paying position, the worker likely is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What is the MCL?
The medial collateral ligament, or MCL, is one the most essential ligaments that contributes to the function and motion of the knee. The ligament runs from the femur (thighbone) to about four inches above the tibia (shinbone). According to the UCSF Medical Center, the primary responsibility of the MCL is to prevent the leg from overextending, but the ligament is also key for stabilizing and rotating the knee.
When a worker injures or tears the MCL, the pain is often severe. In addition to extreme pain, the injury may cause swelling, and the injured person may not be able to put weight on the leg.
Causes of MCL Tears in the Workplace
Those engaged in active professions may be at greater risk of MCL injuries. All MCL injuries are often the result of a force of some sort that pushes the knee sideways, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. For example, a workplace slip and fall injury, contact with machinery or equipment, or an automobile injury could lead to an MCL tear.
Treatment for an MCL Tear
If the worker only has a partial MCL tear, then the doctor may recommend ice therapy, bracing and physical therapy to treat it. This can reduce swelling, keep it immobile when necessary and help the worker regain function of the knee. In the event of a more severe tear, the patient may require surgery to correct it. He or she then may need to go through physical therapy to restore function.
Claiming Workers’ Compensation for an MCL Tear
If you injured your MCL on the job site in Des Moines, you probably qualify for workers’ compensation. You need to report the MCL injury to your employer immediately following the accident. Then, your employer will file a First Report of Injury. Benefits for which you may be eligible include medical benefits to pay for treatment and disability benefits.
You may recover temporary permanent disability if you’re unable to work for more than three days. If you return to work -- but at a lower-paying position temporarily -- you may recover temporary partial disability. In some cases, workers may qualify for permanent partial disability.
Take Action Now!
Talk to an attorney about the benefits you may recover under Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws. Walker, Billingsley & Bair will make sure that you get the benefits you both need and deserve. To set up a consultation, you can reach us at (888) 435-9886 or via our contact form.