The majority of muscle conditions are
either rated on the Slight to Severe Scale or on limited motion of the affected
joint, whichever gives a higher Military Disability Rating. Limited motion is pretty straightforward, but
the VASRD’s original wording for the Slight to Severe Scale can be a bit
confusing, so I want to break it down a bit further.
The way the Slight to Severe Scale reads
seems to imply that the muscle injury must have been caused by a projectile
entering the body in order to be rated. If this were accurate, then there would
be a great number of muscle conditions that could not be rated.
When looking at the Slight to Severe Scale,
the VASRD tries to paint a picture of the kind of disability that would be seen
under each severity.
For example, a SLIGHT disability is
described as follows:
- A simple wound
without infection or debris (bits of bone, shrapnel, etc.).
- An easily treated
wound with good healing and function. No cardinal signs or symptoms.
- Small scar with no
impairment of function.
While a MODERATE
disability is described as follows:
through-and-through or deep penetrating wound without serious infection or
- The regular presence of one or more of
the cardinal signs and symptoms.
- Small scars with some loss of muscle tone
or substance. Some loss of power and a bit more easily fatigued.
These lists are NOT checklists. Your
condition does not have to match each bullet point exactly in order to be
listed under that category. It simply needs to be a similar condition.
The most important thing to consider when
categorizing your condition is the presence of the cardinal signs and symptoms
(loss of muscle power, weakness in the muscle, the muscle tires easily, there
is pain in the muscle with tiredness, lack of coordination, and decreased
Each severity requires a certain number of
the cardinal signs and symptoms to be present in order for the condition to
qualify under that severity. These should be the number one priority. If your
condition seems to fit most in the SLIGHT category, but there is one of the
cardinal signs and symptoms, then your condition would qualify for the MODERATE
category, even if the other qualifiers don’t match.
We were recently contacted by a soldier
with a complete rupture of his pectoralis major (helps control the shoulder; Muscle Group II). The condition was not caused by a projectile, and there was no break
in the skin. After healing from treatment, he had full range of motion, but
also had weakness and loss of muscle tone.
Looking at the Slight to Severe Scale, the
condition would be rated as MODERATE. The first bullet point (a
through-and-through or deep penetrating wound) isn’t present at all, but both
of the second bullet points are. Weakness is one of the cardinal signs and
symptoms, so that satisfies the second bullet point, and loss of muscle tone
satisfies the third.
Overall, when trying to categorize your
muscle condition on the Slight to Severe Scale, remember that the requirements
under each severity are simply painting a picture of the type of condition. The
most important qualification is the presence of any cardinal signs and
symptoms. Beyond that, simply match your condition to the category that most
closely describes it.