Social Security and Arthritis

Many Americans deal with knee, wrist, hip, shoulder, or other joint pain. While some of us just experience minor aches and pains, others face disabling pain and limitations due to arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is frequently caused by the wear-and-tear of daily activities, but can be worsened by heavy work or accidents. It can cause severe pain, due to the loss of cartilage, narrowing of joint spaces, bone spurs, and other degenerative processes.

Treatment for osteoarthritis often includes physical therapy, medications, injection therapy, and surgery. Surgery options may include arthroscopy (which is less invasive), open surgeries, and joint replacement. While modern medicine has made many advances in treating osteoarthritis, many people continue to experience severe pain and limitations.

Inflammatory or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis (also called rheumatoid arthritis) most often impacts a person’s smaller joints, such as the hands and feet. Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes painful swelling in the lining of a joint, and may lead to bony erosion and deformity. In severe cases, it can also damage larger joints and other organs. Unlike osteoarthritis, most people who have inflammatory arthritis experience severe pain and swelling in affected joints.

Just like osteoarthritis, there is no cure for inflammatory arthritis. Most inflammatory arthritis patients take medications, some of which cause significant side effects. Physical therapy and surgery can also be recommended. However, these treatment options may not completely control inflammatory arthritis.

Social Security Claims and Arthritis

Whether a person has osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis, diagnostic studies (such as x-rays and MRI’s) are important to their Social Security claim. These studies provide evidence of how much damage exists in a joint, and help to explain a person’s symptoms. However, diagnostic studies cannot explain everything. The impact of medications, other medical conditions, and an individual’s pain threshold all can contribute to, and complicate, arthritis symptoms.

If your osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis keeps you from working, you need an attorney who will take the time to understand your claim. At McCroskey Law, our skilled Social Security attorneys have the medical and legal knowledge to evaluate and develop your claim for benefits. We will spend the time to get to know you, and your case.

Contact us today. McCroskey Law is here for you.

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