Injury, overuse, or inflammation of the bones, ligaments, or tendons in the foot can cause debilitating pain and discomfort.Researchshows that certain foot conditions are significantly more prevalent in veterans versus nonveterans in the United States. Some of the most common foot conditions veterans experience following service include pes planus (flat feet), plantar fasciitis, bunion deformity, and arthritis. Veterans may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation if they are able to demonstrate that their foot conditions are due to their time in service. Below are some examples of common foot conditions among veterans:
- Claw Foot – This condition occurs when your toes become bent into a claw-like shape. It can cause corns or calluses to form on the top of your toes or under the ball of your foot.
- Hammer Toe – This condition occurs when a toe is bent downward at the middle joint, which can cause it to appear like a hammer. It can be caused by imbalances in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that surround the toe and are usually responsible for holding it straight. The condition can cause corns and calluses because the hammer toe can rub against the inside of your shoes.
- Hallux Rigidus – Hallux rigidus is a condition where the joint at the base of the big toe experiences pain and stiffness. Over time, this can make it harder to ben the toe. Certain physical activities, as well as cold weather, can cause the pain, stiffness and swelling to increase. The condition is known to be a form of degenerative arthritis.
- Hallux Valgus – Hallux Valgus, more commonly referred to as bunions, can form on the outside of the big toe. Typically, bunions are formed by recurring pressure on the big toe joint. When the toe joint becomes out of alignment, a bump can form.
- Metatarsalgia – Metatarsalgia is a condition categorized by inflammation and pain in the ball of your foot. Activities common in service, such as running and jumping, can cause the condition and exacerbate the symptoms. Wearing shoes that may be too tight or too loose may also cause the condition.
- Additional Foot Injuries – Other foot injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and flat feet are very common among veterans.
Prior to receiving disability compensation from VA, veterans must prove that their disability is related to service. Generally, to establish direct service connection you must have a current, diagnosed disability; however, you can sometimes argue that broader symptoms resulting in impairment also warrant service connection even if there is no actual diagnosis.
The next step in establishing direct service connection involves demonstrating the occurrence of an in-service event or injury. The final component requires a medical nexus, or link, between the in-service event and the current disability. If all three of the above-mentioned elements are met, VA should award service connection for your foot condition and then assign a disability rating.
As mentioned above, service connection generally requires a medical nexus between a veteran’s disability and in-service event. VA is more often than not going to order a as long as there is some suggestion that your current disability is related to service. The VA examiner is going to focus on whether they believe your foot condition is due to your time in service.
Following the examination, the VA examiner will issue a favorable opinion that supports service connection or an unfavorable opinion that does not. It is important for veterans to ask for a copy of the C&P examination. VA is required to give veterans a copy upon request but will otherwise not provide one.
If a veteran disagrees with the VA examiner’s opinion regarding service connection, they can obtain an opinion from a private physician or treating doctor outside of VA and argue against the original examiner’s conclusions.
Within the C&P examination, the VA examiner will also determine the severity of your symptoms. If service connection is granted, VA adjudicators will then assign a disability rating consistent with the examiner’s findings.
In addition to medical evidence, you can submit lay evidence, which includes both statements by yourself and also statements by people who have observed the pain you are experiencing (e.g. someone you live with or work with). For example, if your spouse observes that you have been limping frequently or you are unable to stand for more than five minutes, he or she can explain that in a lay statement.
It is also important to note any assistive devices, such as a cane or a walker, that you use because of your foot condition. Essentially, anything you can put forward to show the functional loss (i.e. the result of your symptoms) caused by your foot condition is helpful evidence.
Secondary service connection represents another avenue of service connection for foot conditions. A secondary service-connected disability is one that is either aggravated or caused by an already service-connected condition. For example, you have a service-connected knee condition that causes you to alter your gait. This then results in a foot condition because you are putting extra pressure on one of your feet. Here, your service-connected knee condition caused your foot condition. Therefore, secondary service connection is warranted. Importantly, you must provide a medical nexus in support of the causal relationship between your knee and foot conditions.
Similarly, if you have a service-connected foot condition that causes or aggravates another condition, then that disability can be service-connected as well.
If you had a foot condition prior to entry into service and then service made it worse, you can still get service connection. However, you have to show that your foot condition was worsened beyond its natural progression by service. Here, veterans should focus on developing evidence that shows the foot condition was not as severe before service as it was after service. While this is a higher standard, service connection is still possible. This type of service connection based on aggravation is outlined in 38 USC § 1153.
VA rates foot conditions according to 38 CFR § 4.71a, Schedule of Ratings, Musculoskeletal System. Within this section there are ten specific diagnostic codes (i.e., 5276 – 5285) pertaining to foot conditions. If you have a diagnosed foot condition that is mentioned under one of those ten codes, VA will compare your symptoms to the rating criteria in that code and assign an evaluation based on that. VA also provides an additional diagnostic code (i.e., 5284) that serves as a catch-all for other foot injuries. Namely, if you have a foot condition that is not listed in diagnostic codes 5276 through 5283, you can ask for a rating under 5284.
Importantly, a veteran with multiple diagnosed foot conditions (e.g., pes planus and plantar fasciitis), might only receive one rating under one diagnostic code if some of the symptoms of one diagnosis overlap with symptoms of the other. In other words, pyramiding – the VA term for rating the same disability, or same symptom of a disability, twice – is not allowed. This prevents veterans from being compensated for the same symptom twice. However, if the diagnosed foot conditions manifest in different ways, it is possible they will be rated separately.
Bilateral Factor and Rating Foot Conditions
Bilateral disabilities are recognized by VA as severely limiting to a veteran’s ability to function, and thus warrant a higher rating percentage. If you have two conditions that are compensable in both your lower extremities or upper extremities, you can receive an extra 10 percent factored into your combined disability rating. However, it is important to note that the additional 10 percent is added into the equation of VA math as if you have a separate condition rated at 10 percent.
In other words, if your combined disability rating is 50 percent, it does not simply increase to 60 percent. In regards to foot conditions, the bilateral factor does not only apply when both feet are affected. Rather, a veteran can have one foot condition and one knee condition qualify for the bilateral factor as long as both the right and left side of the body are affected.
Loss of Use
According to VA, loss of use is held to exist when a part of the body would function equally as well as an amputation with use of a suitable prosthesis; however, amputation is not required in order to experience loss of use. Determinations of loss of use are made on the basis of the actual remaining function of the upper or lower extremities (e.g. hand or foot).
In regards to loss of use as it pertains to foot conditions, VA considers acts of balance, propulsion, etc. If VA determines a veteran experiences loss of use of one or both feet, they may be eligible to additional compensation in the form of Special Monthly Compensation.
Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
If you do not have a 100 percent combined disability rating, but you are unable to work because of your foot condition, you may be entitled to total disability based on individual unemployabilty (TDIU). If you are granted TDIU, VA will compensate you at the 100 percent level. Basically, VA is recognizing that because your service-connected condition prevents you from working and the rating schedule is based on impairment in earning capacity, if you can’t work, then you should be getting the highest form of compensation.
Was Your VA Disability Claim Denied?
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§ 4.71a, Diagnostic Code 5284, for foot injuries other than those addressed under other diagnostic codes. Under that code, foot injuries are rated at 40 percent for actual loss of use of the foot, 30 percent if injury is severe, 20 percent if moderately severe, and 10 percent if moderate.What is the highest VA rating for feet? ›
The 50 percent disability rating assigned in this decision is the maximum disability rating which can be assigned for a bilateral foot disability, and is the appropriate rating under the diagnostic code which most nearly approximates the Veteran's disability picture. See 38 C.F.R. § 4.71a, Diagnostic Code 5276.What conditions are secondary to flat feet? ›
- Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). This condition occurs in the lower back or neck. ...
- Arthritis of the Foot. ...
- Anterior Knee Pain and Intermittent Low Back Pain. ...
- Plantar Fasciitis. ...
- Toe Deformities. ...
A bilateral acquired flatfoot (pes planus) will be rated as 30 percent disabling where severe with objective evidence of marked deformity (pronation, abduction, etc.), pain on manipulation and use accentuated, indication of swelling on use, characteristic callosities.Can you get disability for foot problems? ›
If you have suffered a foot- or ankle-related injury, you may qualify for federal disability retirement benefits if the condition impacts your ability to do your job.What is the highest VA rating for plantar fasciitis? ›
As of February 2021, plantar fasciitis now has a Diagnostic Code and ratings that range from 10% to 40%. The breakdown of these ratings is as follows: 10% – this rating is applied to cases of plantar fasciitis classified as otherwise and can apply to one or both feet.How much is VA disability for erectile dysfunction? ›
Erectile dysfunction is rated under 38 C.F.R. § 4.115b, Diagnostic Code 7522. Under DC 7522 a 20 percent rating is warranted for deformity of the penis with loss of erectile power. This is the sole disability rating provided under this diagnostic code provision.How does plantar fasciitis prove VA? ›
Service Connection for Plantar Fasciitis
To establish service connection, veterans will also need evidence of an in-service event, injury, or incident which contributed to the plantar fasciitis. Veterans will also need a medical nexus linking the diagnosis to the in-service occurrence.
Plantar fasciitis can be both a medical disability and a legally-protected disability that may qualify you for medical treatment, insurance coverage, or disability benefits, depending on a few different factors.Can I get VA disability for both flat feet and plantar fasciitis? ›
If you have plantar fasciitis in one foot, you may be eligible for VA disability rating for foot pain of 20%. If both of your feet are affected, you may qualify for a VA disability rating of 30%.
Pes planus is a disability characterized by the arches of your feet flattening. While the disability can be serious, inhibiting your range of motion and ability to walk, it is typically painless.Can plantar fasciitis be secondary to flat feet? ›
Associated problems. Flat feet are linked with overpronation – in which the feet lean inwards while walking. People with flat feet may also be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. A flat foot without added support can also cause the foot to be unstable, risking injury.How does the VA check for flat feet? ›
VA grants service connection if the veteran: (1) has a current medical diagnosis for flat feet; (2) provides evidence of an in-service event or occurrence leading to the condition; and (3) presents a medical nexus opinion connecting pes planus to the in-service event.What is VA rating for insomnia? ›
VA Disability Ratings for Insomnia Disorder
So this means, insomnia could be rated like mental disorders which range from 0% to a 100% disability rating, per the Schedule of Ratings for Mental Disorders (38 CFR § 4.130) meaning it is possible to receive over $3,000 from the VA for service connected insomnia issues.
If you are unsure, there is an easy test that you can take. Just wet your feet and then stand on a bathroom tile or concrete sidewalk, or any flat surface that will show your footprint. If you can see the shape of your whole foot rather than just a portion, then you have flat feet.Does arthritis in your feet qualify for disability? ›
Yes. Arthritis can prompt incapacity, as can numerous other mental and physical conditions. If your arthritis confines your daily movements, or activities you may qualify for disability benefits.Is chronic foot pain a disability? ›
Chronic pain can cause disability, meaning it can keep you from doing a substantial amount of activity. For the Social Security Administration (SSA) to find you disabled, your medical records need to show that you have a severe "medically determinable" impairment (MDI) that causes your chronic pain.Is neuropathy a VA disability? ›
Under 38 CFR § 4.124a, the VA rates neuropathy depending on the affected nerve and what type of issue is causing the neuropathy. For VA purposes, only individuals with neuropathy that is the result of paralysis, neuritis, or neuralgia are eligible for VA disability compensation.What is secondary to plantar fasciitis? ›
When left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to secondary problems like gait abnormality, flat feet deformity, and pain in the ankle, knee, hip, and lower back.What causes plantar fasciitis in military? ›
Plantar fasciitis – This is the most common form of heel pain among U.S. adults in general, and it's also very common in the military due to the added stress on your feet. Overstressed arches lead to irritation and tearing in the band of tissue that supports the bottom of your feet, usually right under the heel.
No, they are not. Flatfeet is a condition in which the foot arches collapse and may come with no associated symptoms. On the other hand, plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia and causes pain. Without proper management, flatfeet increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.At what age does VA disability stop? ›
When veterans reach age 67, all VA disability payments would revert to the amount associated with the rated disability level; veterans age 67 or older who are already receiving IU payments would no longer receive them after the effective date of the option.Is sleep apnea a VA disability? ›
If you developed sleep apnea during your military service, you could be eligible to receive disability benefits. But there are several challenges to winning veterans (VA) disability for sleep apnea, and many veterans receive denials after they apply.Can VA prove erectile dysfunction? ›
Yes, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a VA disability and is assigned a 0% rating under Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Category K. Normally, the VA will grant a 0% service connected VA rating for Erectile Dysfunction unless you are eligible under the other Diagnostic Codes (DCs) listed above.Is heel spurs a VA disability? ›
The criteria for a 10 percent disability rating for retrocalcaneal heel spur syndrome of the right foot have been met. 38 U.S.C.A.What conditions are secondary to ankle pain? ›
Common Secondary Conditions to Ankle Conditions
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a sudden injury to the ankle, which may cause the foot to roll one way or another. Knee pain—If an ankle is consistent, or goes untreated, it can cause knee pain.
Over time, the inflammation and stress to the plantar fascia can result in small tears in the fascia. This will cause your pain levels to increase gradually and if left unaddressed, these tears might grow in size and number, making the plantar fascia more vulnerable to rupture and debilitation.What is bilateral foot disability? ›
What is “Bilateral Pes Planus”? Pes Planus, often referred to as flat feet, is a common foot deformity in which the arch of the foot is flattened to the point where it touches, or nearly touches, the ground. If a veteran has bilateral pes planus, then the condition affects both feet.Why does the military not allow flat feet? ›
Why are flat feet an issue for the Army? They are an issue as the army can potentially be a very physical and demanding job on the body. Your feet can have a large impact on this as they play a vital role in supporting the body through actions such as running.How do I get 100 percent VA disability? ›
A veteran can receive a temporary 100% rating when they are hospitalized for 21 or more days for a service-connected condition. A veteran can receive a 100% rating if they are having surgery for a service-connected condition and will require an extensive recovery time that limits their mobility.
Limitation of Flexion of the Knee (Diagnostic Code 5260)
This refers to the range of motion a person has when their knee is moving towards the body. This is the most common knee problem eligible for VA disability benefits, with ratings that typically range from 10% to 30%.
Tinnitus is one of the most commonly claims conditions by veterans, and it can lead those affected to develop secondary conditions such as sleep disorders, anxiety, and migraines.Are fallen arches the same as flat feet? ›
Some adults have arches that collapse. This condition, fallen arches, is another term for flatfoot. Flat feet aren't a problem for most people. If flat feet cause pain or other problems, treatments can help.When is surgery needed for plantar fasciitis? ›
Experts suggest that you try at least 6 months of other treatment before you consider surgery. Surgery may be right for you if you keep having bad heel pain after 6 to 12 months of home treatment. You might also think about surgery if heel pain is affecting your ability to work or do moderate exercise.What are the different types of flat feet? ›
There are two general types of flatfoot: flexible flatfoot and rigid flatfoot. In flexible flatfoot, the foot has a normal arch at rest (not standing or walking), but it disappears once it comes in contact with the ground. If there is no arch, whether sitting or standing, they have a "rigid" or "true" flatfoot.Do flat feet cause back problems? ›
About one in five people have lower back pain, and those who have “flat feet,” or “fallen arches,” are 50 percent more likely to suffer than those with normal or high arches.What is the VA rating for ankle pain? ›
Limitation of motion of an ankle is rated under Diagnostic Code 5271. The veteran is currently rated as 10 percent disabling for each ankle disability. Such a rating is warranted for moderate limited motion. The highest rating available under this Code is 20 percent for marked limited motion.What percentage VA disability is sleep apnea? ›
How Does VA Rate Sleep Apnea Now? Right now, service-connected sleep apnea is assigned a 50 percent rating if you are prescribed a CPAP machine. If you have a CPAP and you also have chronic respiratory failure or similar conditions, you can get a 100 percent rating.Does the VA pay disability for anxiety? ›
If You Are a Veteran With Social Anxiety, You May Be Eligible for VA Disability. Social anxiety is a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to work, sustain meaningful relationships, and even carry out normal daily activities. It has a number of causes, many of them involving genetics and brain structure.How can I prove my VA disability for anxiety? ›
The VA's requirements for anxiety claims
You must also present any medical records and lay evidence that shows the severity of your anxiety. You'll want to visit a doctor to go over your symptoms, including sleep problems, fatigue, irritability, and worry and have your symptoms documented.
Flat feet do not usually need to be treated
You do not need to do anything if you or your child have flat feet and they're not causing any problems. Most children have flat feet until they're about 6 years of age. After this time, they usually develop an arch.
In adults, flat feet usually remain permanently flat. Treatment usually addresses the symptoms rather than a cure. In adults the condition is called "acquired" flatfoot because it affects feet that at one point in time had a normal longitudinal arch. The deformity may worsen over time as one ages.Can you rebuild arches in flat feet? ›
One of the foot problems people develop is "fallen arches" or "flat feet," a decrease in the longitudinal arch that absorbs landing forces. You can rebuild the arches through the use of the following and other active isolated, constant-resistance exercises.What are the top 10 VA disability claims? ›
- #1 Tinnitus.
- #2 Hearing Loss.
- #3 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- #4 Scars, General.
- #5 Limitation of Flexion, Knee.
- #6 Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain.
- #7 Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve.
- #8 Limitation of Range of Motion of the Ankle.
Limitation of motion of an ankle is rated under Diagnostic Code 5271. The veteran is currently rated as 10 percent disabling for each ankle disability. Such a rating is warranted for moderate limited motion. The highest rating available under this Code is 20 percent for marked limited motion.How does the VA rate plantar fasciitis? ›
Veterans who have plantar fasciitis and experienced the actual loss of use of the foot qualify for a 40 percent disability rating. A special disability rating of 20 or 30 percent applies to veterans who received a surgical recommendation from their doctor but are not a candidate for surgery.What is the VA disability rating for toenail fungus? ›
§§ 4.3, 4.118. A ten percent rating, but not higher, for bilateral onychomycosis of the toenails and tinea pedis is granted.What are the easiest VA claims to win? ›
- Limitation of flexion (knee)
- Hearing loss.
- Lumbosacral or cervical strain (back and neck strains)
- Limitation of arm motion.
- General scars.
A 100% VA Disability Rating is the highest combined rating a veteran can receive for VA Disability. It is also known as a Total Rating.What is the VA 55 year rule? ›
What is the VA 55-year-old rule? Veterans who receive VA disability benefits for service-connected conditions are exempt from periodic future examinations once they turn 55 years old. This includes veterans who will be 55 by the date of a future examination, according to the VA Adjudication Procedures Manual.
Common Secondary Conditions to Ankle Conditions
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a sudden injury to the ankle, which may cause the foot to roll one way or another. Knee pain—If an ankle is consistent, or goes untreated, it can cause knee pain.
Yes, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a VA disability and is assigned a 0% rating under Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Category K. Normally, the VA will grant a 0% service connected VA rating for Erectile Dysfunction unless you are eligible under the other Diagnostic Codes (DCs) listed above.How do I get VA disability for my ankle? ›
To establish service connection for ankle instability on a direct basis, veterans must establish the following: (1) a current diagnosis of ankle instability; (2) an in-service event, injury, or illness; and (3) a medical nexus linking the instability of the ankle to the in-service incurrence.Can plantar fasciitis be a permanent disability? ›
Far from being a permanent or chronic condition, plantar fasciitis typically responds well to treatment. Most people recover completely with a few months of conservative treatment. And, you have lots of options available to you. Many cases of plantar fasciitis respond positively to conservative treatment strategies.What conditions are secondary to plantar fasciitis? ›
When left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to secondary problems like gait abnormality, flat feet deformity, and pain in the ankle, knee, hip, and lower back.Is plantar fascia a disability? ›
Plantar fasciitis can be both a medical disability and a legally-protected disability that may qualify you for medical treatment, insurance coverage, or disability benefits, depending on a few different factors.Are ingrown toenails a VA disability? ›
A 10 percent disability rating, and no higher, for right great toe, ingrown toenail is granted.Is neuropathy a VA disability? ›
Under 38 CFR § 4.124a, the VA rates neuropathy depending on the affected nerve and what type of issue is causing the neuropathy. For VA purposes, only individuals with neuropathy that is the result of paralysis, neuritis, or neuralgia are eligible for VA disability compensation.Is Athlete's foot a VA disability? ›
Entitlement to a rating of 30 percent for bilateral athlete's foot is granted, subject to the law and regulations governing the payment of VA monetary benefits.