Hip pain is a general symptom that can have any number of root causes. The type of hip pain that you have will depend on where the discomfort is and how it manifests. Hip pain can extend to even a lower extremity, such as the left knee. If medical records show pain on the exterior of this body part, it’s likely because of damage to the muscles or tendons. Pain the hip socket, known as the acetabulum, is also a common complaint. In this article, we will tackle VA Disability Ratings for Hip pain and compensation.
You may be experiencing hip pain if you have the following symptoms:
- Functional loss of motion or limited motion
- Pain in the groin
- Swelling/tenderness of hip
- Difficulty sleeping on hip
- Warmth in the hip
- Joint discomfort
- Stiffness in the hip (ankylosis)
Many people will live with hip pain for years, perhaps because it doesn’t severely limit the range of motion in their musculoskeletal system or because they would prefer to avoid a surgical treatment plan. Hip pain can also be mistaken for other conditions, depending on where the pain is emanating from. Related conditions include lower back pain and degenerative arthritis. Certain types of cancer can also cause hip pain.
Service Connection for Hip Pain
The VA allows its veterans to claim disability for hip pain if they developed it due to their time in the service. This condition can directly stem from extreme strain placed on the hip or due to overuse. Loading trucks, physical training, or even just sitting for hours on end are a few examples of how a military service member might develop hip pain from their time in the military.
Should you decide to file for disability, you’ll need the following documents to prove your case:
- A recent diagnosis of hip pain from a qualified medical professional
- A description of what you did in the service that caused the hip pain
- A written opinion from your doctor, called a medical nexus, that states your hip pain was directly caused by your time in the service
Your documents need to be as clear-cut as possible. There can be no question that your hip pain is a result of the time in the service. When describing the events, the information presented must be relevant and verifiable to be considered further by the VA.
Please note that hip pain does not necessarily need to be caused when on active duty. For instance, if you took up long-distance running during your time in the military to combat stress and developed hip pain from ongoing strain on the joint, you can still file for a VA disability.
Secondary Service Connection for Hip Pain
A secondary service connection is one that developed from a primary service connection. For instance, let’s say that you developed lower back pain from being forced to hunch over day after day during the time in the service. After being discharged, you notice that it’s not just your lower back that hurts, but also your hips and knees as well. It’s likely that the primary condition caused the rest of the body to adapt in such a way that caused stress to the hips and knees as well.
The VA disability code also allows for more than one disability rating if you can establish a connection between mental and physical disorders. So if a soldier experienced PTSD during their time in the military, they may well develop an eating disorder to cope with the mental stress. If that disorder causes them to put on a lot of weight, this could eventually lead to morbid obesity, which could lead to hip pain. Under the VA disability rules, members are allowed to file for all related conditions.
In order to file for hip pain (or a malunion in the case of a misaligned fracture), you’ll need a diagnosis from the doctor, a medical nexus, and a comprehensive description of how your time in the service eventually led to the primary and secondary conditions. The doctor will need to confirm that the primary and secondary conditions are related and, in their opinion, were caused by the events experienced in the military. You can file for a schedular compensation benefit for hip pain at any time.
Compensation & Pension (C&P) Exams for Hip Pain
Once you submit your paperwork, the VA Regional Office (RO) of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs will usually look it over and then formally request a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam. During this exam, a VA doctor may test the patient’s adduction with different weight-bearing exercises. te
A VA doctor will not treat their patients or prescribe them medication. However, they may provide a different diagnosis, which could be pivotal for a patient’s recovery. In some cases, the VA doctor may fully agree with the original doctor, but in others, they may have differing opinions. For example, they may believe that the hip disability is a secondary rather than a primary condition or that the hip pain is related to events experienced after the military.
Once the VA doctor has made their rating decisions, the patient will be informed of the RO’s final decision. Depending on the conclusion, patients can either accept the ruling or appeal through the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA). Should you choose to appeal, there are three options to challenge the VA doctor’s findings:
- By requesting a different reviewer at the RO
- By gathering new evidence and submitting it to the RO
- By requesting a higher authority than the RO to review the case
New evidence for painful motion of the hip might include additional X-rays or supporting evidence from other medical professionals. If you request someone new to review the case, it will likely be assigned to an authority who specializes in hip pain.
VA Disability Rating for Hip pain
The VA Disability rating for hip pain uses the diagnostic code according to the CFR which depends on the severity of the discomfort. In previous cases, flare-ups between 1 – 3 times a week had a minimum rating of at least 10% per hip, or 20% for both hips.
More extreme cases, such as hip replacements that require a prosthetic or the use of crutches, are rated much higher. In fact, hip replacements are initially rated at 100%. After that, the rating will vary as the person recovers from surgery. For secondary conditions, the VA will likely review the symptoms for both conditions and then issue a combined rating for a final percentage.
The VA rating schedule assigns a diagnostic code that is subject to the individual filer. Between your doctor, the VA doctor, and the review process at the RO, you’ll be given a number that is directly related to the limitation of motion and pain you’re feeling. This is regardless of whether you file for hip pain as a primary or secondary connection.
The right veterans’ attorney can help you appeal your VA claim for anything from hypertrophic conditions to hip pain.
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