If you were asked to name the top 10 most common VA disabilities, the odds are that you wouldn’t choose “ankle limitations.” But despite the fact that they may be overlooked, ankle injuries are one of the most prominent disabilities suffered by veterans.
A study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine studied ankle injuries among active service members. It found that they experienced ankle sprains at a rate five times greater than those in the civilian population.
This is notable due to the fact that ankles that have been sprained have a high rate of re-injury.
The ankle is one of the main weight-bearing joints, therefore when it is injured other pains and bodily issues can follow. Understanding how ankle injuries can impact other parts of the body may help you in your pursuit of a VA Disability Rating.
How the VA Rates Ankle Injuries
To determine the rating for your ankle injury the VA will focus on two factors: flexion (limitation of range and motion) and pain.
The normal range for the ankle is between 45 to 0 degrees for plantar flexion (when the top of your foot points away from your leg) and between 20 to 0 degrees for dorsiflexion (moving your foot up toward the shin).
If the range of motion is markedly limited, then it is possible to receive a 20% disability rating. If the range of motion is moderately limited, a 10% rating will be assigned.
The latest data reports around 92% of all VA claims involving the ankle receive the rating between 0-20%.
In the rare cases where the ankle is damaged to the point of being frozen in place, a higher rating is available.
If your left or right ankle is frozen in plantar flexion more than 40 degrees, or dorsiflexion more than 10 degrees, then a 40% rating will be assigned.
If the ankle is frozen at 30 to 40 degrees plantarflexion or at 0 to 10 degrees in dorsiflexion then you will receive a 30% rating.
Finally, if you are in need of an ankle joint replacement, you will receive a 100% automatic rating from the point of receiving your false joint prosthesis. This 100% rating will remain in place for a year then will be examined to receive a permanent rating.
If there remains a continual weakness or severe pain with motion, a 40% rating will be permanently assigned.
If pain or weakness is not limited or severe, you will receive a permanent minimum rating of 20%, which is the lowest rating assigned for an ankle replacement.
Secondary Ratings for ankles
It’s possible that an ankle disability can cause you to walk with a long-term limp. By favoring either your left or right side for an extended amount of time you may begin to experience problems in your knees, hips, or back.
When this occurs, you can file a claim with the VA for a secondary service connection for additional benefits.
With secondary conditions, these are known as a disability claim that was caused or made worse by an existing service-connection. These types of claims are CRUCIAL in filing for what you deserve the first time!
Ankle disabilities are extremely common among veterans and should not be taken lightly due to the effect they can have on other parts of the body if they are not treated correctly.
When going forward with your VA Claims, ensure that you do have the correct evidence in place for the VA to use. To check out what a medical professional says about winning your VA Disability Claim, check out the training here!
Don’t let years pass you by of not claiming what you deserve! Check out the other resources we have to set you up to WIN! When you’re ready, here’s the link to our stellar coaching program!