Arnold v. Social Security Administration
ORDER affirming the decision denying Arnold's application and dismissing complaint. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 7/24/13. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
GRACIE LYNN ARNOLD
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
Arnold sought disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. She last worked as a housekeeper at a La Quinta Inn. She maintains
that pain and swelling in her knees prevent her from working.
Commissioner's ALJ identified a remote knee surgery and osteoarthritis of the
knees as severe impairments. He determined Arnold could do light work that
didn't require frequent crouching. Because a vocational expert identified jobs
Arnold could do- including her past work as a hotel housekeeper- the ALJ
denied Arnold's application, her third. Arnold appeals. The fighting issue is
whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's denial. Prosch v.
Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000).
Arnold maintains her knees prevent her from working, but medical
evidence does not support her claim. In Arnold's most recent medical exam,
the doctor found tenderness, slight swelling, and crunching in the right knee,
and crunching in the left knee. Knee pain prevented Arnold from squatting
or rising from a squatting position. The doctor opined that Arnold had a mild
to moderate limitation in walking and standing.
Arnold's most recent
radiographic imaging showed mild degenerative changes in the inner
compartment of both knees. Degenerative changes often cause pain, but the
characterization of Arnold's changes as "mild" does not suggest disabling
pain. This evidence adequately supports the ALJ' s conclusion that Arnold
could do light work not requiring frequent crouching. Prosch, 201 F.3d at
The ALJ relied on Arnold's daily activities in discounting the credibility
of her claim of disabling pain. Arnold challenges this reliance. The ALJ,
however, also considered Arnold's medical records, her level of care (overthe-counter pain relievers, tonic water, and leg elevation) and her testimony
that her disabled husband did the cooking, cleaning, and shopping. A
reasonable mind would accept all this evidence as adequate to show Arnold
over-stated her pain. Dunahoo v. Apfel, 241 F.3d 1033, 1038 (8th Cir. 2001).
Arnold also argues, in passing, that the ALJ disregarded her treating
physician's opinion that she must elevate her right leg four times daily. No
error occurred. This one-time instruction did not establish a non-exertional
impairment. Medical recommendations also included physical therapy and
weight loss. Arnold reported less pain with physical therapy. Her last
treatment record reflected weight gain. And there was no recommendation
for the left leg. The Court affirms the decision denying Arnold's application.
D.P. Marshall r.
United States District Judge
24 July 2013
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