What is a Flare Up and How They Impact Orthopedic Ratings

Flare Ups: How they Impact Orthopedic Ratings

What is a Flare Up?

A flare up is defined as a sudden and temporary increase in symptoms. Flare-ups are usually recurrent, but are unpredictable and arise without warning. The escalation in symptoms, including pain and loss of mobility, can result in complete incapacitation.

How Does VA Rae Orthopedic Conditions and How Do Flare Ups Impact It?

When look at orthopedic conditions, VA uses a rating based on the location and type of injury. Typically, the rating is based on diagnostic testing of the joint’s range of motion and functional loss. Functional loss can be shown through weakness, incoordination, and instability. The VA is also supposed to consider if a veteran experiences pain during motion and whether that pain causes functional loss.

A higher rating may be awarded when there is additional loss or limitation of motion due to pain during flare-ups. For example, if someone is rated at 10% for a back condition and typically is unable to bend forward more than 60 degrees. However, when experiencing a flare-up they are unable to bend forward more than 30 percent and it becomes much more disabling than 10%.

C&P Exams and Flare Ups

When going to a C&P exam for an orthopedic condition, a veteran should mention if they experience flare-ups and any accompanying limitations. The examiners must address flare-ups when addressing orthopedic conditions. In 2017, a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims case, Sharp v. Shulkin, was decided which held that examiner must offer an opinion on how the veteran could functionally limited during a flare up.

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 flare ups with an orthopedic condition, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at

855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.


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