Legg-Calves-Perthes disease can be disabling in adulthood

December 7, 2021 in
SSD 14 pain

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a rare hip condition occurring in childhood. The blood supply to the hip joint is interrupted and causes the bone cells to die, in a process called avascular necrosis. This causes the bone to weaken and may cause fractures. The femoral head of the hip joint degrades and loses its rounded shape. The blood supply will return to the femoral head of the hip joint; however, its shape will be permanently altered. This may result in pain, stiffness, and limping. The affected hip may also cause muscle spasms in the leg, synovitis of the joint, limited ability to move the hip, and atrophying of the leg muscles. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may also result in two different leg lengths. Typically one hip is affected, but Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may affect both hips. Children with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may be treated with physical therapy, long periods of immobilization of the affected hip, and activity restrictions. Crutches may be required during the treatment process. If the disease progresses, surgical intervention may be required. The surgeon may perform a pelvic or femoral osteotomy, where the angle of the bones of the femur is fixed into an anatomically correct position.

Although Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a childhood condition, you may be impacted as an adult. Even with treatment in childhood, adults with the condition may develop pain and osteoarthritis. This may lead to needing a total hip replacement in adulthood. The pain typically is the result of the residual shape of the hip. If you are experiencing pain as an adult as a result of Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome, your ability to perform normal work activities may be compromised. If you have worked and paid taxes on your income, you are eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. LaBovick Law Group is experienced in these types of cases and is ready to assist you with your claim for benefits.

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be suffering from a condition that lasts or is expected to last for at least one year that is preventing you from the ability to perform work at substantial gainful activity levels. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a long-term condition and thus qualifies as such. Although you may have successfully worked for many years, your pain may have worsened in adulthood, preventing you from engaging in gainful work.

Many people with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease are prescribed assistive devices to assist with standing and walking. Your medical provider may prescribe bilateral crutches that you need to use to be able to walk. Of course, using crutches requires full-time use of your hands in order to walk, which eliminates the ability to perform jobs that require standing or walking for long periods of time. In addition, long-term use of crutches may place a significant amount of stress on the shoulders, requiring you to use other devices such as a cane. Some individuals with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease have found that using a cane does not allow them to walk as steadily as they were able to do when using crutches.

Once the Social Security Administration has reviewed your application and confirmed that you are not engaging in substantial gainful activity, it will then move to step 2 of the process, which is to confirm that you are suffering from a severe impairment. Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome is one type of impairment. In addition, the hip osteoarthritis which you are experiencing due to the Legg-Calve-Perthes condition can qualify as a severe impairment. Your condition may be further complicated if you were unable to undergo a total hip replacement due to other health conditions which may have impacted your ability to be cleared by your providers to safely undergo the procedure.

After Social Security has confirmed that you suffer from a severe impairment, the agency will review whether you meet the criteria of one of Social Security’s listings of impairments. These are impairments that are considered to be severe enough to prevent an individual from performing any gainful activity. The listing of impairments contains certain criteria that must be satisfied. Legg-Calves-Perthes syndrome is not specifically included in the listing of impairments. However, Social Security may determine that your condition is equal to that of one of the listed impairments. This requires the individual to experience chronic pain or stiffness; abnormal motion, instability, or immobility of your affected joint; and an anatomic abnormality confirmed by a healthcare provider, either through imaging studies such as an MRI or through a physical exam. There are additional criteria to meet as well. The individual with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease must have a documented need for an assistive device requiring two hands such as a walker, bilateral canes, a wheeled device requiring two hands, or bilateral crutches; or an inability to use both affected extremities. Therefore, if you are currently using crutches to walk, it is important to have a prescription or other medical documentation from one of your providers which confirms that the use of the crutches is medically necessary. If you meet the criteria for a listing, Social Security will find you to be disabled.

If you do not meet the criteria for a listing, you may still be found disabled. Social Security will evaluate your residual functional capacity, which is an assessment of your physical capabilities in relation to areas such as standing, walking, and lifting or carrying weight. Social Security will determine whether you can perform your past work in light of your residual functional capacity. If you are able to perform your past work, Social Security will then determine whether there is any other work that you are able to perform. If you are not able to perform other work, Social Security will find you to be disabled.

Navigating through Social Security’s listing of impairments and the evaluation process can be very challenging. It is best to hire an attorney who is familiar with Social Security’s regulations and can utilize his or her knowledge of such to win your case. The legal team at LaBovick Law Group is experienced with Social Security’s disability evaluation process. Give us a call at (561) 625-8400 for a free case evaluation and to get your application for benefits started.