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What is a carpenter’s knee?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Not every workplace injury involves a dramatic accident or a sudden mishap with a piece of machinery. A lot of valid workers’ compensation claims involve injuries that develop gradually over time, usually due to repetitive motion and strain.

While carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most well-known repetitive motion injury, there’s another that may be just as common and equally debilitating – it’s called prepatellar bursitis, or “carpenter’s knee.”

Some professions are more prone to it than others

Patellar tendinitis is characterized by inflammation or irritation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). This condition typically develops due to repetitive stress or overuse of the knee joint. 

The condition gets its nickname from the fact that carpenters often do a lot of kneeling, squatting and moving around on their knees, which makes them particularly susceptible to the condition. Aside from carpenters, this condition also tends to affect:

  • Maids and cleaning professionals: Working long hours cleaning homes, hotel rooms or offices can be rough on someone’s body. All the kneeling they do to scrub floors, clean baseboards or wipe out tubs and showers can take a toll.
  • Plumbers: Plumbers often work in confined spaces and need to kneel or crouch to access pipes and fixtures. This repetitive kneeling motion can contribute to the development of patellar tendinitis over time.
  • Electricians: Electricians may find themselves kneeling or squatting when working on wiring, outlets, or fixtures, increasing their risk of developing knee-related injuries.
  • Gardeners and landscapers: People working in gardening or landscaping professions often spend significant time kneeling or squatting while planting, weeding and maintaining outdoor spaces, making them vulnerable to knee injuries.

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide financial assistance to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses – but claims are often denied because it can be difficult to prove that patellar tendinitis is job-related. If you’re struggling to get your worker’s compensation claim for a repetitive strain injury approved, it may be time to seek specific legal information about your rights.