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Chronic Compartment Syndrome and SSA Disability Benefits

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Compartment syndrome of the lower leg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]English: This is a picture of compartment synd...[/caption]

Chronic compartment syndrome is an uncommon, exercise-induced neuromuscular condition which is caused by painful swelling and increased pressure in the muscles. The condition often occurs in a claimant’s arms or legs where the muscles are separated by bands of tissue and may not adequately expand to accommodate the swelling.

This condition almost always occurs in the legs and arms, although occasionally the hands and feet may also be affected. The severity of the condition varies, although if it is not treated properly the nerves and muscles in the affected areas could eventually fail.

Chronic compartment syndrome is most often caused by athletic exercise (running, swimming or biking). If your condition is a result of strenuous exercise it is recommended that you stop the exercise or modifying the type, duration and frequency of the activity. Surgery may also be required to make incisions around the swollen muscles. Failure to treat this condition could result in permanent damage to your muscles and severe pain.

Another severe condition called acute compartment syndrome can also develop after a severe injury or accident. Common conditions which may cause this condition include steroid use, injuries from a car accident, a bruised muscle or a bone fracture.

Winning SSDI or SSDI for Chronic Compartment Syndrome

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods for determining whether an applicant is disabled: does the applicant’s condition meet or exceed a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments or determining if the claimant has the residual capacity to work (which is done through what the SSA terms the medical vocational process).

The SSA does not have a listing for Chronic Compartment Syndrome so claimants with this condition will have to prove that their condition “meets or exceeds” another listing. For instance, claimants may be able to prove that their condition and symptoms are as severe as other listings under listing 1.00 Musculoskeletal System.

Proving through a medical vocational allowance that you cannot work due to Chronic Compartment Syndrome

If you cannot prove that your condition meets a listing you will have to prove that you do not have the residual capacity to work. The main issue with chronic compartment syndrome will be proving that your condition will last for at least 12 continuous months. Although the pain and your functional loss may be severe at this moment, proving that your condition will last at least 12 continuous months if you are getting proper treatment may be difficult.

The SSA will also expect you to prove that you cannot perform any type of work. If you are a young applicant with a high education and you have done any type of sedentary work it may also be very difficult to prove that you cannot do work. In this particular example, for instance, the SSA is likely to argue that even if you were doing light work, which required walking or standing, you should be able to retrain for new work and they would deny you case.

Hiring a disability lawyer

Given the complexity of the SSI and SSDI  disability process, if you have this condition, you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI or SSI, and you have proof your condition will last for at least 12 continuous months you might be able to get help by talking to a disability lawyer who can review your case.
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