Injuries to the shoulder joint can be very debilitating to workers who have to use their arms for lifting or repetitive activities. These injuries can be caused either by a sudden and unnatural force on the shoulder joint or often through repetitive overhead activities slowly wearing down the structure of the shoulder joint. The most common injuries to the shoulder are tears of the several tendons which comprise the rotator cuff, the labrum, the acromioclavicular joint, and the biceps. Treatment for shoulder injuries can include physical therapy, injection therapy to relieve pain, and surgery to repair damaged tendons, create space, or remove damaged bone.
One of the risks of shoulder surgery or shoulder immobility following an injury is that of “frozen shoulder”, where movement of the joint becomes restricted and painful. If a shoulder injury results in a permanent impairment of function, it is classified as “unscheduled” for purposes of Arizona Workers Compensation law.
Injuries to the knee joint are very common at work. These injuries can range from minor tears of the meniscus, to rupture of the cruciate or collateral ligaments. Many knee injuries require surgery, which most of the time can be done arthroscopically. Recovery time from a knee injury ranges from 2-3 weeks for a meniscus tear to up to 6 months for a multiple ligament tear. Because the menisci and ligaments of the knee provide stability for the knee joint, an injury to one of these structures alters the mechanics of the knee. This can often accelerate the deterioration of an already arthritic joint and eventually require total or partial knee replacement.
If a doctor feels that the initial work injury sped up the degenerative process of the knee, knee replacement can be covered under the initial workers compensation claim. Knee injuries are usually treated by orthopedic surgeons. A permanent knee injury, in the absence of any other permanent injury, is considered “scheduled” in the Arizona workers compensation Act. If you’re unsure if your injury qualifies you for social security disability benefits, contact the Arizona Social Security disability attorneys at Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC.