Does VA Rate Flat Feet? | South Portland, Maine

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Does VA Rate Flat Feet?

Published on June 11th, 2024

How Do You Prove VA Disability Ratings For Flat Feet?

Millions of veterans struggle with chronic foot pain due to flat feet, also known as Pes Planus. If you are a veteran with flat feet, you know how tough it can be to work and go about your day. The pain can become unbearable, keeping you from enjoying daily activities. Therefore, it’s best to understand what VA disability for flat feet is. 

This article aims to equip you with sufficient knowledge of how the VA rates flat feet.  We will explore the connection between flat feet during your military service, outlining the steps to secure the well-deserved VA disability benefits. We will also guide you in navigating potential claim denials and securing the support you deserve. 

Do not let chronic foot pain sideline you. Take charge of your health and get the VA benefits you have earned.

Quick Summary:

  • Flat Feet (Pes planus) involve flattening of the foot arches. It leads to potential pain and alignment issues in the body, aggravated by military activities and various risk factors.
  • VA rates flat feet under 38 C.F.R § 4.71a using the Schedule for Rating Disabilities under the Diagnostic Code (DC) 5276. The rating ranges from 0% to 50% based on the severity of the veteran’s condition. Ratings depend on symptoms like pain, deformity, and response to footwear.
  • The Veteran must show a current diagnosis, an in-service event or injury, and a medical nexus linking their condition to military service.
  • Ratings vary with severity—from 0% for minimal symptoms to 50% for extreme tenderness and deformity. Separate ratings exist for associated plantar fasciitis.
  • The Veteran can appeal denied claims through supplemental claims, higher-level reviews, or Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearings.

What is Flat Feet?

Pes Planus, commonly known as Flat Feet, is a foot deformity where the arch on the inside of the foot is flattened. This causes the entire sole to touch the ground when standing, unlike a normal arch which maintains a curve.

This condition is prevalent among veterans seeking VA disability benefits. Understanding the implications of Pes Planus and the process for claiming benefits is crucial for affected veterans. Millions of veterans have been diagnosed with flat feet, and it’s expected that many more will be diagnosed in the future.

The following are also implications of having a flat fee: 

  • Flat feet can develop at any stage of life. 
  • Risk factors include rigorous and repeated physical activity from military service, age, body weight, and genetic predispositions. 
  • The condition can be congenital (present from birth) or acquired later in life due to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction and other causes. Most veterans do not show any signs or symptoms associated with flat feet, but some experience foot pain, swelling, and exacerbated pain with activity.

Symptoms and Complications of Flat Feet

While many people with flat feet have no symptoms, others may experience pain, stiffness, and fatigue in their feet, ankles, and legs. Flat feet can also lead to other complications, such as:

  • Pain in the feet
  • Pain in the ankles, knees, and hips
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Calluses and corns
  • Bunions and hammertoes
  • Plantar fasciitis

Flat feet can affect the alignment and biomechanics of the body, increasing the likelihood of pain in the hips, knees, and ankles. When combined with plantar fasciitis, a condition where the tissue on the foot used during walking becomes inflamed, veterans can experience even more severe symptoms such as:

  • Sharp foot discomfort 
  • Inflammation near the heel 
  • Tension in the Achilles tendon 
  • Morning or standing aggravation of pain

Risk Factors and Diagnosis

Certain health issues can increase the risk of flat feet, including injuries to the Achilles tendon, diabetes, broken bones, obesity, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs to assess the severity of the condition.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a podiatrist or other foot doctor to get a diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

Does VA Rate Flat Feet?

The VA rates flat feet under 38 C.F.R § 4.71a using the Schedule for Rating Disabilities under the Diagnostic Code (DC) 5276. The rating ranges from 0% to 50% based on the severity of the veteran’s condition.  

Can I Get a VA Disability Rating for Flat Feet?

Yes, veterans can get VA disability benefits eligibility for flat feet under 38 C.F.R § 4.71a, but there are some conditions you must meet. Below are the 3 key elements the veteran must have to qualify.

How Do I Prove VA Disability For Flat Feet?

As VA rate flat feet, proving VA disability requires meeting three key elements:

Current Disability

You need documented medical evidence of your current flat feet condition. This may include:

  • Medical records from an orthotics professional, podiatrist, or other qualified medical professional.
  • Diagnostic imaging results like X-rays or MRIs confirm flat feet.
  • Assessments by healthcare professionals document the severity and limitations caused by your flat feet.

In-Service Event or Injury

You need ample evidence of an event or injury during your military service that could have caused or worsened your flat feet. Examples include:

  • Service medical records documenting participation in activities like prolonged marching, carrying heavy equipment, or jumping exercises.
  • Duty assignments are known for physical strain; and
  • Personal records like diaries or letters detailing the physical demands of your service.

Medical Nexus

This is the most crucial element. You need a medical opinion establishing a link between your current flat feet and your military service. This involves:

  • Obtaining a written statement from a medical professional outlining how your military service likely caused or aggravated your flat feet.
  • To support their opinion, the medical professional should review your complete medical history, including service and post-service records.

Remember, VA evaluates flat feet based on severity and its impact on your daily life. The more substantial evidence you have to support your claim, the better your chances of securing VA disability benefits.

How Much Disability Can I Get For Flat Feet?

The VA disability ratings for flat feet (pes planus) range from 0% to 50%, depending on the severity of your condition and its impact on your daily activities. Below are the VA Disability Rating Criteria under 38 C.F.R § 4.71a of the Diagnostic Code (DC) 5276: 

0% Rating

No symptoms or minimal discomfort were relieved with proper footwear. (This means your flat feet do not cause any limitations in your daily life).

10% Rating

Moderate symptoms, including:

  • Weight is borne primarily on the big toe
  • Inward-bowing Achilles tendon
  • Pain with activity
  • This applies to both unilateral (one foot affected) and bilateral (both feet affected) pes planus.

20% Rating

Severe symptoms in one foot, with:

  • Deformity
  • Pronounced pain
  • Swelling
  • Calluses

30% Rating

This applies to bilateral (both feet affected) cases with severe symptoms described above (20% rating).

50% Rating

Pronounced symptoms in one foot, with:

  • Extreme tenderness in the plantar area (sole)
  • Extreme inward displacement of the Achilles tendon
  • Not improved by proper footwear

Combined Ratings for Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis

Veterans who suffer from bilateral Pes Planus combined with plantar fasciitis may be eligible to receive a pes planus VA rating of 50% and an additional 30% for their plantar fasciitis. This combination recognizes the compounded impact on mobility and quality of life, providing a higher level of compensation.

What are the Steps to Take if My VA Disability Claim for Flat Feet is Denied?

The VA claim process can be complex, and appealing a denial can feel overwhelming. Here is a breakdown of the steps you can take to appeal a denied VA claim for flat feet:

Understanding the Denial

Review the Decision

Carefully examine the VA’s reason for denying your claim. It will outline what evidence they were missing or why they did not consider your flat feet for your service.

Three Appeal Options

The VA offers three main paths to appeal a decision:

  1. Supplemental ClaimYou can file a supplemental claim when new and relevant evidence is not initially submitted. This could include medical records documenting the worsening of flat feet during service, a new diagnosis from a podiatrist, or a statement from a buddy who witnessed your foot issues in service.
  2. Higher-Level ReviewThis option involves requesting a senior reviewer within the VA to re-evaluate your original claim with the existing evidence.
  3. Board Appeal You can appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) for a more comprehensive review. The BVA may request additional evidence or order a new medical exam. Consider this option if you believe the original decision contained errors or missed important details.

Keep in mind that appealing a VA claim requires dedication and patience. Crafting the right appeal strategy can increase your chances of success and expedite the process of securing benefits.

Claim Your VA Disability Benefits Today for Flat Feet in Maine!

If your VA disability claim for flat feet has been denied, don’t wait to seek help. Contact us right away to discuss appealing your claim. With years of experience helping veterans appeal their denials, our team is dedicated to ensuring you get the benefits you deserve.

At Jackson & MacNichol Law Offices, we help veterans like you strengthen your case for VA disability for flat feet, raise your VA ratings, and appeal if you have denied claims. 

From gathering evidence to establishing a medical nexus, our comprehensive legal support covers every aspect of your claim. We work diligently to build a strong case, increasing your chances of a successful outcome. If your initial claim is denied, we have the experience to guide you through the appeals process, ensuring that all necessary documentation and evidence are presented effectively.

Contact our Maine veterans benefit attorney at Jackson & MacNichol Law Offices today and get a free consultation. Let us find out how we can help you win your case.

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