The part of your body that has to bear the weight of you, what you lift, and balance it all; that’s the lower extremities. Lower extremity injuries can be very severe at their outset and in trying to go about life afterwards… effecting your ability to work and in your daily living activities.
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Loss of full use of the lower extremity can be caused by a multitude of sources:
- Low back disc injuries can cause the interruption of the flow of the nerve in the lower back due to a impingement upon nerves that serve the lower extremities.
- Knee injuries such as torn ligaments and cartilage are common injuries. Torn meniscus, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), or patellar tendon injuries are easily sustained through the rigors of trying to maintain one’s balance while pushing, pulling, stooping and lifting.
- Ankle injuries. The ankle is also very susceptible to injury. Too much pressure on the ankle can cause the joint to break, leaving you unable to walk and in pain. Once again, surgery may be an option, but not everyone is a candidate, and you should weigh your options before you make your decision.
- Foot injuries: Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a common nerve disorder that occurs in the feet of the injured employee due to overuse and to much stress on the nerve endings entering the foot. These problems in the foot can be matched by plantar fascitis (a dysfunction of the long ligament at the bottom of the foot).
It is common for the favoritism shown to an injured part of one’s lower extremity to result in an injury to another part of the extremity or even to the other extremity. (Limping due to right knee injury can cause injury to the left knee.) This is called a consequential injury.
It’s possibility should be closely monitored by a treating physician to note its development and to have the claim properly expanded to include the new condition.
If the physician has tried all efforts of rehabilitation and some impairment to the body continues you should be declared to be at a “maximum medical improvement” status and have the impairment evaluated by a professional familiar with the unique process required by the OWCP.
You may be entitled to a cash award for the partial loss of use of part of your lower extremity and – if you can not return to your old job – you may be entitled to disability benefits.