Arthritis, which refers to an inflammation of the joints, is one of the most common of disabling conditions. Scientific estimates indicate that osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million Americans and accounts for 25% of all doctor visits. It is often referred to as degenerative joint disease or "wear-and-tear" arthritis. It is caused by a deterioration of the cartilage that covers and cushions the joints, making most movement uncomfortable or painful. The worse the disease gets, the less effective the affected cartilage becomes, causing tendons and ligaments to stretch. In some case, the cartilage wears away to allow bones to rub together.
Although osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, the most commonly affected areas are the joints in the hips, knees, and spine intended to carry your weight. As the cartilage wears away and the joints lose their flexibility, the stress from standing or walking can trigger debilitating pain. The usual symptoms of the condition are a continuous, stinging pain in the muscles around the affected area and stiffness in the joints that can hinder the ability to move.
Two types of the condition exist. Primary osteoarthritis is related to the aging process, but is not caused by aging alone. Secondary osteoarthritis occurs as the result of having some other disease. The former is more common, as the disease has often been mistaken as an inevitable part of aging. In truth, though most people over the age of 60 have it, it also often appears in individuals in their 40s and 50s, and can affect those as young as 20.
Osteoarthritis and Long-Term Disability
Severe cases of osteoarthritis can make it difficult to perform full-time work. If you are no longer able to perform your job due to osteoarthritis, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. If your LTD claim has been denied or terminated, call the Ortiz Law Firm at 850-308-7833 for a free case evaluation.