If you sustained an ankle injury during military service, you ARE eligible for a VA disability claims for ankle injuries.
You are going to need to figure out how you are are going to service connect your ankle injury and then you are going to need medical evidence to support your claim.
All VA disability claims must have a current diagnosis of an ankle condition, current symptoms and you will need a nexus describing the link between your current ankle injury and your active duty service.
VA Disability Claims for Ankle Injuries
Once service connection is granted, VA will assign a disability rating depending on the severity of the condition. This condition can be rated in a number of ways, based on the type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis in the ankle, the rating criteria under Diagnostic Code 5003 are as follows:
- 20% – with X-ray evidence of involvement of two or more major joints or two or more minor joint groups, with occasional incapacitating exacerbations
- 10% – with X-ray evidence of involvement of two or more major joints or two or more minor joint groups
Importantly, these 20 and 10 percent ratings based on X-ray findings, and will not be utilized when rating ankle arthritis based on limitation of motion (see below).
VA rates rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle under 38 CFR § 4.71(a), Diagnostic Code 5002. To be rated under this code, there are three specifications: (1) the arthritis must be active; (2) it must be affecting at least two joints; and (3) the veteran must submit a definitive diagnosis. The ratings range from 0 to 100 percent disabling and depend mostly on the number of incapacitating episodes a veteran experiences due to their rheumatoid arthritis. The rating criteria are as follows:
- 100% – with constitutional manifestations associated with active joint involvement, totally incapacitating
- 60% – with weight loss and anemia productive of severe impairment of health or severely incapacitating exacerbations occurring four or more times per year, or a lesser number of prolonged periods
- 40% – symptom combinations productive of definite impairment of health objectively supported by examination findings or incapacitating exacerbations occurring three or more times per year
- 20% – one or two exacerbations a year in a well-established diagnosis
In some cases, VA may assign a rating for arthritis in the ankle under Diagnostic Code 5271. Under this code, arthritis in the ankle is rated according to limited motion of the ankle. The rating criteria are as follows:
- 20% – marked limitation of motion
- 10% – moderate limitation of motion
This rating criterion is most commonly used for veterans with osteoarthritis in the ankle when it results in a higher disability evaluation.