Title 38


4.55 Principles of combined ratings for muscle injuries.

§ 4.55 Principles of combined ratings for muscle injuries.

(a) A muscle injury rating will not be combined with a peripheral nerve paralysis rating of the same body part, unless the injuries affect entirely different functions.

(b) For rating purposes, the skeletal muscles of the body are divided into 23 muscle groups in 5 anatomical regions: 6 muscle groups for the shoulder girdle and arm (diagnostic codes 5301 through 5306); 3 muscle groups for the forearm and hand (diagnostic codes 5307 through 5309); 3 muscle groups for the foot and leg (diagnostic codes 5310 through 5312); 6 muscle groups for the pelvic girdle and thigh (diagnostic codes 5313 through 5318); and 5 muscle groups for the torso and neck (diagnostic codes 5319 through 5323).

(c) There will be no rating assigned for muscle groups which act upon an ankylosed joint, with the following exceptions:

(1) In the case of an ankylosed knee, if muscle group XIII is disabled, it will be rated, but at the next lower level than that which would otherwise be assigned.

(2) In the case of an ankylosed shoulder, if muscle groups I and II are severely disabled, the evaluation of the shoulder joint under diagnostic code 5200 will be elevated to the level for unfavorable ankylosis, if not already assigned, but the muscle groups themselves will not be rated.

(d) The combined evaluation of muscle groups acting upon a single unankylosed joint must be lower than the evaluation for unfavorable ankylosis of that joint, except in the case of muscle groups I and II acting upon the shoulder.

(e) For compensable muscle group injuries which are in the same anatomical region but do not act on the same joint, the evaluation for the most severely injured muscle group will be increased by one level and used as the combined evaluation for the affected muscle groups.

(f) For muscle group injuries in different anatomical regions which do not act upon ankylosed joints, each muscle group injury shall be separately rated and the ratings combined under the provisions of § 4.25.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1155) [62 FR 30237, June 3, 1997]