Contrary to its name, “tennis elbow” is not limited to only people with strong serves. The medical diagnosis for the colloquial “tennis elbow” is elbow tendonitis, which occurs when the tendons in one’s elbows have been taxed by repetitive motions in the arms and wrists.
Veterans are often susceptible to elbow tendonitis from their military tenure due to the physical demands of their service specialties.
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In this article about tennis elbow
What is tennis elbow?
The main pain points of tennis elbow/elbow tendonitis occur where the tendons in the forearm attach to the bone on the outside of the elbow, but the pain can spread to the forearms and wrists.
Common occupational and service jobs where the labor can lead to elbow tendonitis include carpenters, painters, and plumbers.
Symptoms of elbow tendonitis
Tennis elbow can make everyday tasks like gripping & holding objects and turning handles more difficult.
During a physical examination, a doctor may apply pressure to the areas in pain and ask the patient to move their elbows, forearms, and hands in specific ways. Sometimes, X-rays and/or other imaging tests will be needed to ensure there are no other causes for the pain or limited range of movement.
Since elbow tendonitis would fall under the larger category of elbow and forearm disabilities, they can be either unilateral or bilateral. If the tendonitis is only in one elbow/forearm, it is considered unilateral. If it is occurring in both arms, it is bilateral.
Treatments for elbow tendonitis
Depending on the severity of the condition, there are various available treatments, including:
- Rest: giving the tendonitis time to heal
- NSAIDs: may help to ease the inflammation
- Braces: removable support braces to take tension off of the affected muscles & tendons
- Physical therapy: to strengthen the forearm and grip
- Steroid injections: corticosteroids can relieve joint pain and inflammation
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy: concentrated platelets are injected into the area to aid healing
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: sound waves can break up scar tissue
- Tenotomy: minimally invasive procedure that removes affected tissue from inside the tendon.
Can tennis elbow be claimed as a VA disability?
As mentioned above, veterans may have an increased susceptibility to elbow tendonitis depending on their occupational specialties during their service. If a veteran believes that their tennis elbow can be attributed due to their military tenure, they can apply for compensation as a service-connected disability.
To establish a direct service connection for elbow tendonitis, the condition must have occurred while in service or have been aggravated in service. Evidence of this would include:
- Medical evidence of a current disability
- Evidence of an in-service disease, injury, or event
- Medical evidence of a link between the current disability and what happened to you in service.
Service connection for elbow tendonitis can also be on a secondary basis. If the veteran has a primary service-connected disability and can prove that it causes or worsened their tennis elbow, he or she may qualify for benefits for tendonitis as a secondary condition. Evidence of this would include:
- Evidence of service-connection for first preceding disability
- Evidence of nexus between first and secondary service-connected disabilities
VA disability rating for elbow tendonitis
The VA rates elbow tendonitis depending on the limitation of motion in the forearm and elbow and whether or not the injury is unilateral or bilateral (affecting both arms).
The criteria for elbow tendonitis disability ratings can be found under the musculoskeletal system section of the Schedule of Ratings in diagnostic codes 5206, 5207, and 5208.
The ratings are broken down into whether or not the injury is with the dominant hand (major) or non-dominant hand (minor).
Below are the criteria for limited flexion (the degree to which one can bend the limb or joint) of the forearm (code 5206).
|Flexion limited to||VA rating|
Here are the criteria for limited extension of the forearm (code 5207).
|Extension limited to||VA rating|
For forearms with flexion limited to 100° and extension limited to 45° (code 5208), the rating is 20% for the dominant or non-dominant arm.
To figure out how much your monthly compensation would be, use our VA disability calculator which will do the complicated VA math for you.
Working with Woods and Woods to file a claim for tennis elbow
If you believe you have elbow tendonitis due to a direct service connection or one that has been caused or exacerbated by a primary service-connected disability, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Whether you have already filed for your initial service-connected illness and need to file for your tennis elbow-related condition or if you’ve never filed before, a certified VA disability lawyer can help. At Woods and Woods, we never charge veterans for help filing the initial application.
A VA-certified disability benefits lawyer from the Woods and Woods team will help you gather evidence for your case and correctly submit your paperwork. In addition, we work hard to stay on top of disability benefit changes and innovative case strategies. Our experienced team includes accomplished lawyers and a research support team of legal analysts and case managers.
Contact our team, and let us help you get started.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes. If you believe that you have elbow tendonitis that can be shown to have either a direct or secondary service connection, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation for an elbow and forearm injury.
The VA ratings for elbow tendonitis are listed under the musculoskeletal system section of the Schedule of Ratings as diagnostic codes 5206, 5207, and 5208. The ratings are based on the reduced limitation of motion in your limb or joint because of this disability. The ratings are affected by whether or not the injury is in the dominant or non-dominant arm or both arms.