Medical Disqualifications from Military Enlistment

Learn About the Conditions That Can Disqualify You From Serving

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While you may really want to join the U.S. Military, there are several medical conditions that can prevent you from doing so. In fact, there's a long list of medical conditions that automatically disqualify you from military service. The International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes are listed in parentheses following each standard. The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction (without an approved waiver) are an authenticated history of:

  • Current or history of chondromalacia (717.7), including, but not limited to chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome and retro-patellar pain syndrome, chronic osteoarthritis (715.3) or traumatic arthritis (716.1) is disqualifying.
  • Current joint dislocation if unreduced, or history of recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder (831), hip (835), elbow (832), knee (836), ankle (837), or instability of any major joint (shoulder (718.81), elbow (718.82), hip (718.85), ankle and foot (718.87) or multiple sites (718.89)) is disqualifying.
  • History of recurrent instability of the knee or shoulder is disqualifying.
  • Current or history of chronic osteoarthritis (715.3) or traumatic arthritis (716.1) of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree that has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life, or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty is disqualifying.


    • Current non-union of any fracture (733.8) (except asymptomatic ulnar styloid process fracture) is disqualifying.
    • Current retained hardware that is symptomatic, interferes with proper wearing of protective equipment or military uniform, and/or is subject to easy trauma, is disqualifying (V53.7).
    • Retained hardware (733.99) (including plates, pins, rods, wires, or screws used for fixation) is not disqualifying if fractures are healed, ligaments are stable, there is no pain, and it is not subject to easy trauma.
    • Current devices, including, but not limited to silastic or titanium, implanted to correct orthopedic abnormalities (V43), are disqualifying.
    • Current or history of contusion of bone or joint; an injury of more than a minor nature that will interfere or prevent performance of military duty, or will require frequent or prolonged treatment without fracture nerve injury, open wound, crush or dislocation, which occurred within the preceding 6 weeks (upper extremity (923), lower extremity (924), ribs and clavicle (922)) is disqualifying.
    • History of joint replacement (V43.6) of any site is disqualifying.
    • Current or history of muscular paralysis, contracture, or atrophy (728), if progressive or of sufficient degree to interfere with or prevent satisfactory performance of military duty or if it will require frequent or prolonged treatment, is disqualifying.
    • Current osteochondritis dessicans (732.7) is disqualifying.
    • Current or history of osteochondromatosis or multiple cartilaginous exostoses (727.82) are disqualifying.
    • Current osteoporosis (733) is disqualifying.
    • Current osteomyelitis (730), or history of recurrent osteomyelitis is disqualifying.
    • See also Upper Extremities and Lower Extremities.

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    Derived from Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 6130.3, "Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction," and DOD Instruction 6130.4, "Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Armed Forces."