Miners who developed the industrial disease osteoarthritis of the knee are to be able to seek compensation, it has been decided.
The condition, which is also known as Miners' Knee, has now been added to the government's list of 'prescribed diseases'.
Announcing the move, secretary of state for work and pensions James Purnell said: "It is right that this help should be available to coal miners who are suffering from this painful condition following years of hard work."
He added that osteoarthritis of the knee has made life hard for many retired miners and has caused some to give up work earlier than they otherwise would have.
Mr Purnell stated that he is "pleased" the government is now in a position to provide assistance to sufferers.
Miner's Knee causes damage to cartilage and results in bony growths developing around the edge of joints.
It also results in inflammation of the tissues around the joints.