Is chronic ankle instability a disability?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Chronic ankle instability can indeed be considered a disability, particularly if it significantly impacts a person’s ability to perform daily activities and maintain employment. The severity and functional limitations caused by ankle instability can vary from person to person, so it is important to evaluate each individual case on its own merits.

When determining disability ratings for ankle instability, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) follows a rating schedule that assesses the functional impairment caused by the condition. The rating schedule takes into account factors such as pain, range of motion limitations, and functional limitations.

Ankle instability itself may receive a rating of between 0 and 20% on the VA rating schedule. This rating reflects the degree of functional impairment caused solely by the ankle instability. However, it is important to consider that ankle instability often occurs in conjunction with other issues, such as knee pain and leg pain. These additional conditions can further contribute to the overall disability rating.

For example, if a veteran experiences not only ankle instability but also chronic knee pain and leg pain, the combined impact of these conditions would be taken into account when determining the overall disability rating. The specific rating for ankle instability may be supplemented by ratings for the knee and leg conditions, resulting in a higher overall disability rating.

It is worth noting that the VA rating schedule is comprehensive and takes into account various factors that may contribute to disability. This includes not only physical limitations but also the impact on a person’s mental health and overall quality of life. Therefore, even if ankle instability alone does not reach a high disability rating, the cumulative impact of multiple conditions can still result in a significant overall rating.

Personal experiences and situations can greatly vary, as each individual’s journey with ankle instability and its impact on their life is unique. However, it is important to recognize that chronic ankle instability can have a profound effect on a person’s ability to engage in daily activities, maintain employment, and enjoy a good quality of life. Seeking proper medical evaluation and documentation is essential in establishing the severity of ankle instability and its impact on an individual’s disability rating.

Chronic ankle instability can be considered a disability when it significantly impairs a person’s ability to function in daily life. The VA rating schedule takes into account the specific limitations caused by ankle instability, as well as any additional conditions that may contribute to the overall disability rating. It is important for individuals with ankle instability to seek proper medical evaluation and documentation to accurately assess and establish their disability rating.