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Many veterans experience severe achilles or ankle tendonitis following their time in the military. Sometimes, this can lead to the inability to secure or maintain employment if the pain interferes with your movements. If you have developed tendonitis as a result of your military service, you may be able to receive VA disability for ankle tendonitis or achilles tendonitis.

No amount of benefits will undo the adverse effects of your military service. However, a VA disability claim can provide you with invaluable compensation to help you cover your resulting expenses as you work toward your recovery.

Use our guide below to learn more about VA disability for achilles tendonitis and ankle tendonitis and how to determine your VA tendonitis disability rating.

Then, when you’re ready to discuss your case with an experienced VA disability ankle/achilles tendonitis attorney, contact us and see how we can help you recover. 

What Is Tendonitis?

Before getting into how to determine a VA disability rating for achilles tendonitis or ankle tendonitis, it’s important to first have a basic understanding of what tendonitis is and how to identify it.

Tendonitis is a medical condition that results in pain while in motion in addition to limiting a person’s range of motion. Specifically, tendonitis causes inflammation or irritation of a tendon—the thick, fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. 

Although tendonitis can occur in any of your tendons, it is most common in the knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows.

Common signs of tendonitis include:

  • Difficulty moving your joints;
  • Swelling in your joints;
  • Tenderness in or near your joints;
  • Pain during physical activity;
  • Sudden, severe pain at the site of a tendon; and
  • Stiffness in your joints.

In most cases, tendonitis results from the repetition of a particular movement over time. However, it can also occur due to a sudden injury. For example, repeatedly lifting a heavy object as part of your job duties can put stress on your tendons, leading to tendonitis.

Regardless of the precise scenario that led to your tendonitis, be sure to seek prompt medical attention.

VA Disability Ratings, Generally

The amount of disability benefits you receive will ultimately depend on your VA disability rating for your ankle tendonitis or achilles tendonitis. Generally speaking, the VA disability rating system operates on a percentage scale from 0% to 100% with each percentage representing a level of disability. 

For example, 100% means someone is considered fully disabled. Conversely, 0% means that someone is not considered disabled for the purposes of the VA disability rating scale and is accordingly not entitled to receive VA disability benefits. 

How Much Disability Can I Receive for Achilles and Ankle Tendonitis?

For ankle or achilles tendonitis, specifically, the VA assigns a disability rating depending on the severity of your tendonitis. Tendonitis is typically rated under 38 CFR § 4.71, Schedule of Ratings – Musculoskeletal System, Diagnostic Codes (DC) 5270 or 5271.

Under DC 5270, disability ratings for ankylosis (i.e., abnormal stiffening and immobility of a joint due to inflammation) are as follows: 

  • 40%: In plantar flexion at more than 40°, or in dorsiflexion at more than 10° or with abduction, adduction, inversion, or eversion deformity; 
  • 30%: In plantar flexion, between 30° and 40°, or in dorsiflexion, between 0° and 10°; and
  • 20%: In plantar flexion, less than 30°.

However, these ratings differ from DC 5271, which is based on limited motion of the ankle, rather than ankylosis. 

Rather, under DC 5271, disability ratings are as follows:

  • 20%: Marked (less than 5 degrees dorsiflexion or less than 10 degrees plantar flexion); and 
  • 10%: Moderate (less than 15 degrees dorsiflexion or less than 30 degrees plantar flexion). 

The amount of your VA disability benefits will depend on your particular disability rating, which will depend on the extent and severity of your tendonitis. Thus, no two disability claims will ever be exactly the same. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no way to determine what your rating could or should be. 

In fact, an experienced VA disability attorney can help you ascertain the potential tendonitis disability rating that applies to your situation and fight for the benefits you need and deserve. 

Proving a VA Disability Rating for Ankle Tendonitis or Achilles Tendonitis

Importantly, to receive VA disability benefits, you must be able to prove that your achilles or ankle tendonitis is related to the time you spent in the military. This is known as a service-related connection. 

You cannot request VA disability benefits for injuries that you suffered outside the military. Requiring a service-related connection helps the VA award benefits only to those who suffered their injury due to their military service. 

To establish that you are entitled to VA disability benefits, you will typically need to show:

  • A tendonitis diagnosis from a physician;
  • Details about the service-related event that caused your tendonitis; and
  • Documentation from your physician that confirms your condition was the result of your military service.

As stated above, tendonitis often results from the repetition of certain tasks like lifting heavy materials. The repetitive lifting or stacking of materials may not seem like a service-related injury at first glance. However, if the injury was caused by an activity you performed in the military, you may nevertheless qualify for VA disability benefits

You can typically establish proof of your tendonitis with information from your physician. Your physician can perform X-rays and MRIs that show the inflammation or irritation near your joints.

Questions About Ankle and Achilles Tendonitis VA Rating?

Dealing with the aftermath of your military service can be difficult for a variety of reasons. But developing ankle or achilles tendonitis as a result can make matters even more complicated.

When you need assistance disputing a disability rating with the VA or just need help starting the disability claims process, you deserve someone in your corner with tried and true experience to give yourself the best chance at success. 

At Gerling Law, our attorneys have been helping injured and disabled clients fight for their rights since 1963. We are confident that we have the knowledge, skills, and experience to fight for your rights, too. 

When you’re ready to discuss how we can help you with your case, contact our team for your free consultation.

Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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