Leg and foot injuries can be debilitating and can take a truck driver months – or even years – to recover, and with certain injuries full recovery is not possible. Serious knee, ankle, and foot injuries can be excruciatingly painful for a trucker who must drive day-after-day with few breaks or opportunities to for physical therapy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), leg injuries are the third most common injury to professional truck drivers, after back and shoulder injuries. The BLS reported 274,210 lower extremity injuries in 2010, which includes knee (110,040), ankle (63,180), and foot (49,100) injuries.
Leg and foot injuries suffered by truck drivers are on average more serious than the same injuries suffered by other workers. Truckers miss on average 19 days of work on account of leg injuries, which is higher than the average for all occupation groups (16).
Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be impossible for the trucker to continue working as a professional driver. Serious knee, ankle, and foot injuries can leave a trucker unable lift and bend as necessary to handle cargo and can make even simple tasks such as climbing into and exiting the cab and operating the gas and brake pedals impossible.
Simple fractures usually heal completely, but compound fractures, tendon and ligament tears, and cartilage damage can cause permanent and debilitating injuries. If you have suffered a serious knee, ankle, or foot injury, don’t try to tough it out. It is important to see a doctor so you can learn the severity of your injury and receive treatment. Ignoring the injury can make it more serious.
We see truckers with a variety of leg injuries, including:
Meniscus tears can cause intense pain and instability in the knee depending on the severity of the tear. Many truckers with meniscus tears describe a sensation of their knee “giving out” or “coming out from under them” while climbing into or exiting the cab, or doing similar activities that require bending the knee. The knee will most likely swell in order to protect itself, which can be intensely painful and can limit movement. Although physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections can help reduce symptoms, an orthopedic doctor will often recommend arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear.
Injuries to the cruciate ligaments – the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) – are sometimes referred to as sprains, but they can be much more complicated than simple muscle strains. These injuries can require months of treatment to recover, and some cruciate ligament injuries – such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears – may require reconstructive surgery.
A cartilage injury known as chondromalacia is a disorder caused by softening of the articular cartilage of the kneecap. It can be caused by traumatic injury or overuse or repetitive motion. Signs and symptoms include dull, achy pain in the front of the knee, Most important for truckers, the condition is made worse by long periods of sitting. Truckers often notice a grating or grinding sensation when the knee is extended.
Each of your feet has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. When a foot is crushed by heavy equipment, or suffers other trauma, the resulting injuries can be devastating. Truckers are no different than other people who work with and around heavy equipment. The risk of a foot injury is always present.
When you do feel pain in your knee, ankle, or foot, don’t ignore it and don’t try to tough it out. Seeing a doctor for your injury is very important and can prevent the injury from becoming more serious.
If your knee, ankle or foot injury has reached the point where it is difficult for you to do your job, its time to contact an experienced Hurt Trucker Attorney. You can call us at 855-4-HURT-TRUCKER (855-448-7887), or reach out to us in the comment area below, on email at [email protected], or on Facebook or Twitter.
We will talk with you free of charge and let you know if you may be entitled to personal injury or workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries. We have a team of health care professionals who are used to caring for injured truckers and have the expertise to determine the cause of knee, ankle, and foot injuries, even when the cause of the injury is not obvious from diagnostic tests.