Representing Disabled Clients for Over 25 Years

Social Security Lawyer

Donald H. Peters


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Major Joints

Major joints refers to the major peripheral joints, which are the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist-hand, and ankle-foot, as opposed to other peripheral joints (e.g., the joints of the hand or forefoot) or axial joints (i.e., the joints of the spine.) The wrist and hand are considered together as one major joint, as are the ankle and foot. Since only the ankle joint, which consists of the juncture of the bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibula) with the hindfoot (tarsal bones), but not the forefoot, is crucial to weight bearing, the ankle and foot are considered separately in evaluating weight bearing.

Measurement of Joint Motion

Measurements of joint motion are based on the techniques described in the chapter on the extremities, spine, and pelvis in the current edition of the "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment" published by the American Medical Association.


  1. General. Musculoskeletal impairments frequently improve with time or respond to treatment. Therefore, a longitudinal clinical record is generally important for the assessment of severity and expected duration of an impairment unless the child is a newborn or the claim can be decided favorably on the basis of the current evidence.
  2. Documentation of medically prescribed treatment and response. Many children, especially those who have listing-level impairments, will have received the benefit of medically prescribed treatment. Whenever evidence of such treatment is available it must be considered.
  3. When there is no record of ongoing treatment. Some children will not have received ongoing treatment or have an ongoing relationship with the medical community despite the existence of a severe impairment(s). In such cases, evaluation will be made on the basis of the current objective medical evidence and other available evidence, taking into consideration the child's medical history, symptoms, and medical source opinions. Even though a child who does not receive treatment may not be able to show an impairment that meets the criteria of one of the musculoskeletal listings, the child may have an impairment(s) that is either medically or, in the case of a claim for benefits under part 416 of this chapter, functionally equivalent in severity to one of the listed impairments.
  4. Evaluation when the criteria of a musculoskeletal listing are not met. These listings are only examples of common musculoskeletal disorders that are severe enough to find a child disabled. Therefore, in any case in which a child has a medically determinable impairment that is not listed, an impairment that does not meet the requirements of a listing, or a combination of impairments no one of which meets the requirements of a listing, we will consider whether the child's impairment(s) is medically or, in the case of a claim for benefits under part 416 of this chapter, functionally equivalent in severity to the criteria of a listing. (See §§ 404.1526, 416.926, and 416.926a.)

    Individuals with claims for benefits under part 404, who have an impairment(s) with a level of severity that does not meet or equal the criteria of the musculoskeletal listings may or may not have the RFC that would enable them to engage in substantial gainful activity. Evaluation of the impairment(s) of these individuals should proceed through the final steps of the sequential evaluation process in § 404.1520 (or, as appropriate, the steps in the medical improvement review standard in § 404.1594).

Effects of Treatment

  1. General. Treatments for musculoskeletal disorders may have beneficial effects or adverse side effects. Therefore, medical treatment (including surgical treatment) must be considered in terms of its effectiveness in ameliorating the signs, symptoms, and laboratory abnormalities of the disorder, and in terms of any side effects that may further limit the child.
  2. Response to treatment. Response to treatment and adverse consequences of treatment may vary widely. For example, a pain medication may relieve an individual's pain completely, partially, or not at all. It may also result in adverse effects, e.g., drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation, that compromise the individual's ability to function. Therefore, each case must be considered on an individual basis, and include consideration of the effects of treatment on the child's ability to function.
  3. Documentation. A specific description of the drugs or treatment given (including surgery), dosage, frequency of administration, and a description of the complications or response to treatment should be obtained. The effects of treatment may be temporary or long-term. As such, the finding regarding the impact of treatment must be based on a sufficient period of treatment to permit proper consideration or judgment about future functioning.

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If you wish to hire a licensed Attorney to help win your claim, call Social Security Professionals.

Call Social Security Professionals now to discuss your claim for free!

You need no money to hire Attorney Donald H. Peters

(248) 549-3485

Call Social Security Professionals now to discuss your claim for free

You need no money to hire Attorney Donald H. Peters

(248) 549-3485

Southfield Lawyer Donald Peters of the Law Office of Donald H. Peters, P.C. in Southfield, Michigan, handles Social Security Disability claims throughout Michigan and in the Tri-County Metro Detroit area including Detroit, Southfield, Novi, Warren, Royal Oak, Roseville, Livonia, Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights, Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Berkley, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor, Eastpointe, Waterford, Flint, Canton, Taylor, Romulus, Westland, Clinton Township, Troy, Dearborn, Brighton, Howell, Pontiac, Rochester Hills,  as well as Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Ingham County, and Livingston County, Michigan.


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For the most up to date content regarding Social Security Disability please reference the Social Security Administration's website.

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(248) 549-3485