We return to our Cost of Injury* series this month with a new breakdown of injury costs – this time spotlighting the knee. A knee injury can happen due to any number of physical activities that involve repeated stress or improper use, but can also include accidents, or falls, and age.

Whether you’re a sports athlete or an industrial athlete, you could be at risk for a knee injury if you push, pull, or move for a living! Thankfully, knee strains and sprains heal with rest and recuperation. Unfortunately, there are other knee injuries that require much more than a bit of patience. Let’s take a look at some common examples:


Ligament Tears (Torn ACL/MCL/PCL)

Ligaments are elastic tissue that connect and stabilize joints and the bones surrounding them. Three of these are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). These ligaments are injured from pivoting, stopping abruptly, jumping, or direct impact to the knee. ACL tears and other torn-ligament injuries are common, and a majority of them require surgery.

In the U.S., an average ACL repair surgery costs $9,300. In addition to that, the injury will take six months (or longer!) to recover.

Torn Meniscus

The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that softens your knee. A tear is usually caused by twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted while the knee is bent. Meniscus tears can occur with heavy lifting or while playing sports. With age, your meniscus gets worn, which can cause the meniscus to tear more easily.

While some meniscus tears can be healed with ice, compression, elevation, and rest, doctors may recommend surgical procedures like arthroscopy, meniscus removal, and meniscus repair. Arthroscopy, for example, costs from $7,400 to $9,000.



Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (the cartilage). OA in the knee happens over time from breakdown of the cartilage. A person with osteoarthritis feels pain, swelling, stiffness, and restricted movement in the affected joint.

Severe cases of osteoarthritis may require a complete knee replacement surgery, which doesn’t come cheaply! In the U.S., a total knee replacement surgery costs between $49,500 to $57,000.


While the surgeries can affect your wallet tremendously, don’t forget about rehab after surgery! Physical therapy can range from $20-350 per session (most pay around $30 with insurance or around $100 without insurance).

Be PREPARED and take care of your body to prevent injuries.

*Keep Reading! Cost of Injury SeriesThe Shoulder and The Back

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!