Total knee replacement is not unheard of to help injured workers – many of whom are employed in blue-collar roles. Years of standing for lengthy periods, lifting heavy cargo, squatting, and climbing and descending stairs may cause stress on the knees, leading to a degenerative joint disease called knee osteoarthritis.
That excessive stress on the knees may cause the wearing down of the cartilage – smooth tissue that covers the surface of the bone. Cartilage serves as a cushion for knee joints. With the erosion of cartilage, bone strikes bone, often leading to pain, discomfort, swelling and even to the knee joint locking up.
Three hours of surgery, three months of recovery
Anyone who suffers from knee problems must understand that solutions do exist. Why continue to tolerate the pain and discomfort during your work hours and your non-work hours? That pain may make it difficult to function in normal ways. Walking especially can be difficult.
In some cases, total knee replacement may be the best option. In such a scenario, medical teams extract damaged cartilage and bone by cutting them away. A prosthetic joint consisting of metal and plastic is put in its place.
While the surgery may last up to three hours, recovery likely may take up to three months.
Study: Employers must better focus on health of their workers
A study released in 2020 by academics in the United Kingdom and Australia, took a thorough look at knee injuries sustained by worldwide workers. In reviewing close to 1 million cases, the researchers found that certain blue-collar workers were likely more vulnerable to knee injuries, knee osteoarthritis and knee replacement.
That list includes agriculture workers, brick and floor layers, carpenters, cleaners, construction workers, house workers and miners.
A key finding of the study is that employers must have an improved focus on the work health of their workers as well as safety practices. This attention must not only be on workers in physical jobs but those in non-physical jobs as well.
Surgery may help
Total knee replacement is an option to consider. The vast majority of knee replacements last 10 to 15 years. But such surgery is not always a success. According to a UK study, as many as 20% of patients are dissatisfied with the results of their total knee replacement. But remember, pursuing surgery may help you and also serve as a warning to your employer.