OWCP Knee Injuries
Letter carriers walk 8-10 miles per day (or more) and they generally keep their jobs for 20-35+ years. Over time, things in the body start to wear down, specifically the knee joints. Knees are made up of 4 ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, and bones. A lot can go wrong, but a very common condition that develops as a result of years of walking, climbing stairs, and standing on hard surfaces, is called Osteoarthritis (OA) of the Knee. Knee OA occurs as a result of the wearing down and tearing of knee cartilage called meniscus.
When the meniscus wears down, often tearing and shredding until it can’t do it’s job of cushioning the knee joint, you end up with what’s commonly referred to as “bone-on-bone”, where the femur and tibia bones start to rub together. That causes arthritis in the knee joint.
Knee OA Can Lead to Knee Replacements
Severe osteoarthritis of the knee can be very painful, causing swelling, decreased range of motion, and a reduced ability to walk long distances, climb stairs, stand on hard surfaces, etc. Sadly, many people resort to knee replacements after years of bone-on-bone grinding. In this picture, a knee replacement means removing the femur head and the top of the tibia, along with all of the ligaments and remaining cartilage, replacing it with a new, prosthetic knee.
Knee Osteoarthritis is a Covered CA-2 Condition
When this surgery is required, the next problem federal employees encounter is not having their OWCP injury claim approved. Far too many federal employees don’t even realize that knee osteoarthritis, which develops over years of wear and tear, is actually a covered condition in OWCP, using a Form CA-2. So, they go to their family physician, get referred out to an orthopedic surgeon, get the surgery, take weeks off of work without pay, or using up sick and annual leave, spend thousands of dollars in copays and deductibles, use of all of their FMLA, and begin getting threats of termination from their supervisor when they can’t get back to work full duty soon enough.
When you don’t file your CA-2 to report your condition, you lose time, money, and too often, your job. All of this is completely avoidable.
Knee Replacements Can Be Avoided in Many Cases
Many doctors perform procedures that can help repair the ligaments and tendons and increase the joint space. This helps injured federal employee avoid the painful surgery all together in most cases. These procedures are referred to as visco-supplementation. This is a series of knee injections with a substance that acts as a cushion in the knee when the knee meniscus can no longer serve that purpose. This injected substance relieves the bone-on-bone irritation that causes the severe pain and other symptoms.
Visco-supplementation is often combined with platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections which use the body’s natural healing platelets to accelerate the healing process in torn or worn-out cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. These pain-relieving knee injections are then combined with physical therapy and a knee brace commonly referred to as an “Unloader” brace that relieves joint pressure and bone-on-bone rubbing in the knee. When all of these techniques are used together, federal employees are able to get back to work full duty, and with regular maintenance to the knee, can make it to retirement.
Knee Treatment Should be Free to You
When you report your federal OWCP injury for the knee using a Form CA-2, you have the opportunity to get help without it costing you money out of your own pocket. That’s how it should always be, but unfortunately too many injured federal employees aren’t aware that these conditions are covered under OWCP. So, instead they use their own personal health insurance and their sick and annual leave. But Knee Osteoarthritis is covered under OWCP, and that condition is approved all the time by OWCP claims examiners who understand the wear and tear federal employees such as USPS letter carriers suffer over a decades-long career with the post office.
When you see a Federal Injury Centers doctor who provides these knee-saving procedures, your doctor will work tirelessly to get your OWCP injury claim approved so that OWCP pays all of your medical bills, but regardless, at Federal Injury Centers, nobody ever pays even a dollar for treatment. If we’re not able to get your claim approved, we will still never ask for your health insurance and we’ll never ask you for money. That’s how confident we are that we will be able to get your OWCP injury claim approved.
Talk to a Federal Injury Centers Doctor First
If you’re a USPS letter carrier, a postal employee who stands all day on hard surfaces, or any other injured federal employee with any other agency, and your job has caused severe knee pain, talk to a Federal Injury Centers Doctor first before making the painful decision to have surgery.
Our OWCP injury doctors will be able to guide you and possibly help you avoid surgery that could lead to lost time and money. Our federal injury treatment facilities are equipped to help relieve your knee pain and get you back to work without weeks or months of lost time.
The Knee is Eligible for a Schedule Award
By going to a Federal Injury Centers doctor, your odds of getting an accepted OWCP injury claim go way up. Approved OWCP claims are our #1 specialty. When your OWCP knee injury claim is approved and you get all of the recommended treatment, then some time in the future, the doctor will place you at maximum medical improvement (MMI). At that time, you’ll be able to get an impairment rating using the AMA’s 6th edition guide to permanent impairment, and you’ll send that into your claims examiner along with a Form CA-7, Claim for Compensation.
This is how your schedule award payments are initiated. But you must understand that if your OWCP injury claim is never approved, you will never be eligible for a schedule award. The initial choice of physician is yours by law. Be sure you make the right choice of doctor so your injury claim can be approved and you can access all of your OWCP injury benefits.