Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, a rare but serious condition. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs. Signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis include:
- Swelling, warmth, and redness over an area of infection
- Pain in the area of infection
Most cases of osteomyelitis are caused staphylococcus bacteria. Germs can enter a bone in a variety of ways, including:
- The Bloodstream. Germs in other parts of your body can travel through the bloodstream to a weakened spot in a bone.
- Injuries. Severe puncture wounds can carry germs deep inside the body. If the injury becomes infected, the germs can spread into a nearby bone. Germs can also enter the body if you have broken a bone so severely that part of it is sticking out through the skin.
- Surgery. Direct contamination with germs can occur during surgeries to replace joints or repair fractures.
How to Get VA Disability Rating?
To establish a service connection for osteomyelitis veterans must demonstrate:
(1) a current diagnosis of osteomyelitis;
(2) an in-service event, injury, or illness; and
(3) a medical link between the current diagnosis and in-service event.
Veterans can also be eligible for a secondary service connection if they are able to show that their osteomyelitis is “at least as likely as not” caused or aggravated by a primary service-connected condition.
How is Osteomyelitis Rated?
Once recurring or chronic osteomyelitis is diagnoses, a permanent rating is given that CAN be combined with ratings of the symptoms as well. This is rare. Normally, a veteran can only have one rating per condition, but osteomyelitis allows the disease itself to be rated and all its symptoms. Combined, however, all the ratings cannot be more than the rating for the amputation of the affected body part.
- 100% | If the disease is in the major joints, pelvis, or spine, or it is in numerous locations, or if there is a long history of symptoms including liver problems, anemia, or the inability to function
- 60% | If there are frequent episodes of infection with many of the same symptoms but not constantly
- 30% | If there is x-ray evidence of new bone growth outside the infected bone or if there is a piece of dead bone that has broken off of the main skeleton
- 20% | If there have been 3 or more episodes of infection and there have been signs of active infection, like sinus discharge, within the last 5 years
- 10% | If there have been 3 or more episodes of infection but none in the last 5 years
If the affected bone is successfully removed and no further episodes of infection occur, then no rating for osteomyelitis will be given.
Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from osteomyelitis, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.