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SSDI Disability Benefits for Kienbocks Disease

Kienbock's disease or avascular necrosis of the lunate (one of eight small carpal bones in the wrist), results when the bones in the wrist lose blood and begin to die, causing stiffness and the inability for the individual to properly move their wrist. This condition most commonly affects only one arm and is found most frequently in men ages 20 to 40.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Ligaments of wrist. Posterior and anterior views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]Ligaments of wrist. Posterior and anterior views[/caption]

The cause of this condition is unknown, although doctors and scientist suspect that it is associated with other diseases such as cerebral palsy, anemia or lupus. It can also result from problems with blood drainage, blood supply, trauma or skeletal issues.

Unfortunately, the wrist is needed to allow the hand to move in many directions and is considered one of the most complicated joints in the body. Loss of mobility in the wrist can eliminate motion in the hand which lower hand strength and gripping. Claimants with this condition may find they are unable to continue to perform a variety of jobs.

Symptoms of Kienbock’s Disease


Claimants with Kienbock’s disease may experience pain in their wrist, limited motion, swelling, and the inability to grip objects. Some claimant’s pain is intermittent while others is constant and severe.

This condition can be identified through an X-ray and MRI, although an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is the most effective. Through one of these tests the doctors are generally able to accurately diagnose this condition.

Treatment for this condition varies depending on the stage of the disease. At the earliest stages doctors generally prescribe nonsurgical treatments. In the later stages doctors can perform one of the following – 1)revascularization 2) intercarpal fusion; 3) lunate excision; 4) lunate decompression and joint-leveling procedures; 5) proximal row carpectomy; and 6) wrist fusion.

Winning SSI or SSDI through Kienbock’s Disease


The SSA has two methods of determining whether a claimant can win SSI and SSDI  for a mental or physical health condition: meets a listing outlined in the SSA Listing of Impairment (also known as the Blue Book this is a list of all the conditions the SSA finds automatically disabling) or through a medical vocational allowance (which allows the claimant to prove they do not have the residual ability to work).

Meeting a Listing for Kienbock’s disease and winning SSI or SSDI


Kienbock’s disease could be evaluated under 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, 1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause). Under this listing the SSA expects that the disorder is “characterized by gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s).”

Additionally, the condition must involve one major peripheral joint in each upper extremity (i.e., shoulder, elbow, or wrist-hand), resulting in inability to perform fine and gross movements.

What does the SSA mean by the inability to perform gross and fine motor movements? They will evaluate if the claimant’s ability to complete activities such as “reaching, pushing, pulling, grasping, and fingering to be able to carry out activities of daily living.”

They will evaluate whether a claimant can prepare meals for themselves, feed themselves, take care of their personal hygiene needs, sort papers, handle papers and reach to place them in a file cabinet which is above their waist level.

Winning SSDI or SSI benefits through a medical vocational allowance


Claimants who do not meet the listing outlined above will have to prove through a medical vocation allowance that given their age, education, work history and medical condition that they cannot work their current job, past job or retrain for new work. The older the claimant the easier this will be to do. Many claimants seek legal assistance from a disability lawyer to help them win SSI or SSDI if their condition does not meet or equal a listing.
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