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Rosie Sylvia Hernandez v. Michael J. Astrue

June 21, 2011

ROSIE SYLVIA HERNANDEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT (Doc. 1)

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner" or "Defendant") denying her application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") pursuant to Title II and for supplemental security income ("SSI") pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Sheila K. Oberto, United States Magistrate Judge.*fn1

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born in 1960, has a high school education, and has worded as a campus supervisor/aide and a security guard. (Administrative Record ("AR") 12, 41.) On October 2, 2006, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI, alleging disability beginning June 9, 2006, due to a left ankle injury. (AR 9, 98-102, 103-05.)

A. Medical Evidence

In July 2003, Plaintiff presented for examination where she complained of pain in her left foot and ankle; Feldene was prescribed. (AR 200). Treatment records indicate that Plaintiff returned for examination, stating that the Feldene had not helped; an injection was administered and Plaintiff was instructed to return for follow-up in a month. (AR 200.)

On May 15, 2006, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Frederick J. Kruger, a podiatrist, for evaluation of joint pain and tenderness. (AR 197.) Dr. Kruger's records indicate that Plaintiff was in no acute distress, no edema in her extremities was noted, muscle strength and tone were normal, her gait was stable, and her station was normal. (AR 197.) He also found that Plaintiff had mild and moderate tenderness of her left tarsi. (AR 197.) Dr. Kruger diagnosed Plaintiff with sinus tarsi syndrome left and "pcs planus bilateral"; he administered a corticosteroid injection and prescribed over-the-counter orthotics. (AR 197.)

On August 15, 2006, Dr. Kruger again examined Plaintiff and made findings similar to those in May 2006, but he prescribed Prednizone for inflammation. (AR 196.) On August 31, 2006, Plaintiff underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan ("MRI") of her left ankle which revealed "some evidence of soft tissue edema" and several other abnormalities. (AR 194.) The MRI results were interpreted to be "highly suggestive of underlying fibrocartilaginous coalition of the calcanconavicular joint." (AR 194.) The MRI report indicated that the objective findings were "compatible with sinus tarsi syndrome." (AR 194.)

On September 6, 2006, Dr. Kruger recommended custom orthotics for Plaintiff and stated that she "is not to work for two months due to fibrocartilaginous coalition of calcaneonavicular joint." (AR 193.) He instructed her to return in two months for follow-up. (AR 193.) On follow-up in November 2006, Dr. Kruger determined that "[c]linically, the condition is worsening and reocurred" [sic]. He assessed "sinus tarsi syndrom, pcs planus bilateral," congenital abnormalities of the foot, and "calcaneal-navicular coalition Plantar facitis left." (AR 187.) He instructed that Plaintiff return to the office in one month.

On November 14, 2006, Dr. C.A. Fracchia, a state agency physician, reviewed Plaintiff's medical records. Dr. Fracchia opined that Plaintiff should be limited to light work because of pain, but he also indicated that she would have no postural or other limitations. (AR 183.)

On December 5, 2007, Dr. Kruger again examined Plaintiff noting that Plaintiff was taking no medications but continued to prescribe Prednizone for inflammation and administered a cortisone injection. (AR 205-06.)

In September 2008, Plaintiff underwent a computed tomography ("CT") scan of the left foot and ankle, and the findings were summarized as follows:

There is no evidence of osseous tarsal coalition. However, there may be some underlying fibrous coalition. There are significant degenerative changes with subchondral cyst formation at the calcaneonavicular joint. In addition, there is some joint space narrowing at the joint between the lateral aspect of the navicular bone and lateral coneiform. (AR 212.) Dr. Kruger opined that Plaintiff was permanently ...


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