Tennis elbow, medically referred to as elbow tendonitis or lateral epicondylitis, results in pain during everyday activities involving the affected arm. Repetitive arm and wrist motions are the primary cause of this condition, leading to the following symptoms:
- Pain and stiffness that make tasks such as gripping objects difficult
- Difficulty shaking hands
- Holding a cup seems challenging
Veterans are particularly susceptible to this ailment due to their frequent engagement in physically demanding activities. This article delves into VA disability ratings for tennis elbow and how a veteran proves a service connection for tennis elbow to get VA compensation ratings and benefits.
VA Service Connection For Tennis Elbow
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) necessitates that veterans seeking disability benefits fulfill three critical criteria to receive a VA disability rating for tennis elbow:
- A current diagnosis of elbow tendonitis
- Substantiating evidence for your tennis elbow diagnosis, including X-ray reports, doctor's notes, prescriptions, and items acquired to aid your forearm and elbow injuries.
- A medical nexus that connects your present elbow tendonitis diagnosis to a specific event that happened during your military service.
To secure a VA disability rating, providing precise details on how you developed your tennis elbow is essential. For example, if your arm was subjected to high-speed impact during a vehicular accident while in service, leading to persistent pain, you must document this incident when submitting your VA disability claim.
What Is The Eligibility Criteria For Service Connection For Tennis Elbow by Aggravation?
Service connection by aggravation denotes having a pre-existing tennis elbow worsened due to military service. To qualify, you must demonstrate that military service expedited its progression beyond what would have occurred naturally. The VA mandates medical documentation for service connection by aggravation, similar to primary or secondary conditions.
Eligibility for VA disability benefits in this scenario hinges on the permanence of the worsening of your tennis elbow symptoms. Temporary worsening will not suffice, as the VA typically denies claims under the assumption that symptoms will eventually improve. Written medical documentation is crucial to substantiate the condition's enduring nature and secure the benefits you deserve.
VA Disability Ratings For Tennis Elbow
The VA employs the Musculoskeletal System of Ratings to evaluate tennis elbow, assigning one of three diagnostic codes: 5206, 5207, or 5208. Each code corresponds to specific ratings. It's important to note that the higher number pertains to the dominant arm, while the lower number relates to the non-dominant arm.
Diagnostic Code 5206: Forearm With Flexion Limited
Here are the VA disability ratings for tennis elbow under this code:
50/40 percent: If your flexion is limited to 45 degrees
40/30 percent: If your flexion is limited to 55 degrees
30/20 percent: If your flexion is limited to 70 degrees
20/20 percent: If your flexion is limited to 90 degrees
10/10 percent: If your flexion is limited to 100 degrees
0/0 percent: If your flexion is limited to 110 degrees
Diagnostic Code 5207: Forearm With Extension Limited
For this code, the VA disability ratings are as follows:
50/40 percent: If your extension is limited to 110 degrees
40/30 percent: If your extension is limited to 100 degrees
30/20 percent: If your extension is limited to 90 degrees
20/20 percent: If your extension is limited to 75 degrees
10/10 percent: If your extension is limited to 45 degrees
Diagnostic Code 5208
A 20 percent VA disability rating is assigned if your forearm flexion does not exceed 100 degrees and your forearm extension does not surpass 45 degrees.
Special Disability Rating For Bilateral Tennis Elbow
When a formal diagnosis of elbow tendonitis is established in both elbows, the VA consolidates the two assigned percentages. Additionally, they incorporate an extra 10 percent to achieve a higher overall rating. This adjustment recognizes the compounded effect of bilateral tennis elbow on your condition.