When the term “disabling injury” is mentioned, most in Marion will likely envision serious injuries to major body systems that leave one almost totally dependent on the care of others. Yet in all actuality, the vast majority of injuries that lead to disability are less initially severe, yet their net effect is drastic over time. Indeed, according to information shared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, injuries to the upper and lower extremities rank among the top three most common injuries that force people to miss work.
The end result of upper and lower extremity injuries if often joint pain. While many may view joint pain as something that can be dealt with, pain in the knees, hips, wrists, elbows and shoulders can greatly limit one’s ability to perform many of the tasks associated with labor. The question then becomes at what point does joint pain become disabling.
The Social Security Administration has provided this standard in its Listing of Impairments. Specifically in reference to joint injuries, it states that such an injury must demonstrate a gross anatomical deformity in the joint, along with chronic pain and stiffness that limits motion. Imaging studies must also confirm joint space narrowing, bony destruction or ankylosis of the affected joint.
Furthermore, the injury must involve either a major weight-bearing joint of the lower extremity or a peripheral joint of the upper extremity that is associated with both fine and gross movements. Should one undergo surgical repair of a weight-bearing joint, their prognosis must indicate an inability to effectively ambulate for at least 12 months in order to qualify for disability benefits.