For those suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet, we all know the sharp, stabbing pain that it can cause which makes it almost difficult to carry out any activity. However, Plantar Fasciitis does not happen to anyone or everyone but can be genetic or acquired externally. Veterans, especially, relate to this condition very well. Plantar Fasciitis is called a service acquired condition in their terms.
That is why veterans can avail themselves their share of benefits through VA ratings for different conditions. Especially for Plantar Fasciitis or Flat Feet, they first need to get their condition reviewed through experts in the panel. After this, they can acquire a suitable overall rating that can help them get their fair share.
Therefore, if you are a veteran or anyone who belongs to a veteran family, you need to know all about VA ratings and how to increase them to make sure that your deformity does not become a liability for others.
Read on as we help you understand the VA Ratings for Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet and how to apply for these benefits for the best of your interests.
Plantar Fasciitis & Flat Feet in Veterans
Plantar Fasciitis is associated with severe heel pain and excessive stress on the plantar fascia ligament. This ligament extends right from the ball of the foot to the heel region and is responsible for providing shock absorbance to our feet due to any impact. If the ligament gets overstretched, injured, or tears due to an accident, activity, or related deformities, then it can cause a sharp, stabbing pain while walking or stepping on that foot.
This is Plantar Fasciitis and is very common amongst veterans. This is because their job involves hours of training, standing, and running, which eventually can deteriorate the feet’ health due to overstressing and heavy activity.
A veteran’s life is sure not easy and stress on the feet is just a part of it. If it develops into something worse like plantar fasciitis or pes planus over time, then it can get difficult for them to walk or carry out routine activities.
Plantar Fasciitis can cause inflammation of the Plantar Fascia ligament and can be treated with mild stretches, physical therapy, supportive footwear, and medications. In worse cases, it may even require surgical intervention. It causes mild to moderate but a very sharp and stabbing pain that travels across the length of your feet with every step that you take.
That being said, various other factors like age, obesity, excessive impact on feet, ill-fitted shoes, etc can also aggravate the condition. There are orthopedic slippers and shoes for plantar fasciitis available that provide mild to moderate relief. Alongside stretching and massaging along with RICE therapy also helps in the long run and prevents the pain from recurring. You can also invest in a foot massager for plantar fasciitis for enhanced blood circulation and for maintaining your feet health.
What are VA Ratings and Benefits
VA Ratings are percentage metrics assigned by the VA to a veteran based on any condition that was developed during his service period. These ratings define the severity of the condition based on certain values. The higher is the VA rating, the greater the severity and the higher is the compensation provided to the veteran.
These benefits are specifically made for veterans whose livelihoods and dependant families suffer due to their disability. If their condition is severe, it would make it impossible to work and support the family for which the VA Ratings work as a boon. To get a VA rating and avail the compensation, you need to show some service proof and explain the official of your condition.
VA Ratings for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis certainly qualifies for VA Ratings and can be rated anywhere between 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, or 50% based on the severity. However, if you have the condition congenitally, then you cannot get VA ratings.
If the condition has severed or developed due to services offered to the military and if the pain has increased over time, then you can apply for the compensation. You would need some supporting proof that you have worked for the military services and how your feet’ health has deteriorated over time due to plantar fasciitis.
If you have already had flat feet or plantar fasciitis before entering the military, and if your condition has severed due to military services, you are still eligible for compensation under the law.
Ratings for Plantar Fasciitis are given with regards to the eCFR Part 4 – Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Each condition is associated with a diagnostic code that needs to be reported to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The codes can extend right from 5000-9999, of which Flat Foot/Plantar Fasciitis has the code 5276 under the category Flatfoot Acquired. You can find the index for all related disabilities here.
These are the ratings for Plantar Fasciitis as follows:
|pronounced; marked pronation, tenderness of the plantar fascia ligament surface below the feet, inward displacement of the foot, severe spasms of the Achilles Tendon, and no improvement with orthopedic support.|
|Unilateral (one foot)||30%|
|Bilateral (both feet)||50%|
|Severe; evidence of marked deformity, pain on manipulation, an indication of swelling on use|
|Unilateral (one foot)||20%|
|Bilateral (both feet)||30%|
|Moderate; inward bowing of the Achilles Tendon, pain on use and manipulation of feet, weight-bearing line over or medial to great toe; Unilateral and Bilateral||10%|
|Mild symptoms that can be relieved by support||0%|
Secondary Conditions for Plantar Fasciitis
If you have served the military and have developed plantar fasciitis years after leaving the military due to any other related foot deformity, you would still be eligible for claims as per the VA ratings.
For availing VA Ratings and benefits due to secondary reasons, you need to have a service connection as a veteran on a secondary basis showing the root cause and related cause termed as a showing of causation.
It requires proof that the secondary disability is closely related or closely caused due to the service-related disability.
This means, e.g. if you have developed arthritis while serving the military, and the plantar fasciitis has been a secondary development due to arthritis, which means you can still apply for VA ratings for plantar fasciitis through arthritis.
As per the law, 3 elements satisfy you for this condition:
- A prior medical/current diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis with previous medical records or private records.
- A primary disability/disabilities caused in the services that have/have led to the secondary disability being Plantar Fasciitis
- Medical Nexus Connection that shows a relation between the primary and the secondary disability being Plantar Fasciitis.
All of these can also give you chances of increased VA ratings with appropriate proof:
- The first element can be achieved through any medical records like X-rays, medicines, treatment during service, etc.
- The second element can be achieved with the primary disability having an already existing VA rating of 0% or higher.
- The third element needs a medical nexus letter from a qualified medical professional.
Applying for VA Disability Benefits for Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet
Ex-Military servants and dependant family members of ex-military servants whose conditions pertaining to plantar fasciitis have aggravated while serving the forced can apply for this claim through the VA disability ratings.
You need to fill an application form for the VA disability claims by answering a few questions. There are a few terms and conditions after which you can apply for the claims once you are eligible.
You can then file your claim online through the VA Form 21-526EZ
The process runs as follows:
- As a part of the preparation, you will have to provide some medical evidence or reports to your claimed condition that your condition has gone worse.
- Supporting statements from friends and family or a coworker will also work as supporting proof to explain to the VA officer about your worsening condition.
- Based on the evidence, the authorities give you a rough score. You may also need to give a C & P exam to prove your condition.
- You can cross-check with the disability ratings or place a claim again if you feel it is incorrect and has chances of increasing it based on the severity of your condition.
- You can then send the final application with all supporting proof and the diagnostic codes mentioned as per your condition.
- Your application would then undergo a VA review to match the mentioned conditions with the provided evidence.
- A cumulative VA rating is given based on the mentioned conditions and each VA rating provides monthly compensational benefits.
The compensational benefits are:
Total Combined Rating →
You & 1 Child
You & 1 Parent
You & Spouse
You, 1 Parent & 1 Child
You & 2 Parents
You, Spouse, & 1 Child
You, Spouse, & 1 Parent
You, 2 Parents, & 1 Child
You, Spouse, 1 Parent & 1 Child
You, Spouse, & 2 Parents
You, Spouse, 2 Parents, & 1 Child
Additional Children under 18
Aid and Attendance Spouse
How to Increase VA Ratings for Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet
The VA disability benefits get updated over time, which you can check if your condition has worsened or improved. Basically, the more severe your condition is, the more benefits you can avail. But that requires proper, valid proof.
If you can successfully provide the required medical records and documents along with valid timelines and statements from acquaintances, then you can avail of benefits with increased VA ratings based on your condition.
If you have been given a VA rating and you are dissatisfied with the same, you can also submit an appeal. If the pieces of evidence are good enough, the VA may consider increasing your ratings and benefits after reviewing your appeal.
Plantar Fasciitis can affect almost anybody but is very commonly seen in the case of veterans. This is because their service involves tremendous activity and their feet are overstressed most of the times. This is why, the U.S. government helps all these veterans and their dependant family members benefits to sustain if they are suffering from any deformity, be it plantar fasciitis and flat feet.
The VA ratings are a set of percentages/values assigned by the VA government after assessing your feet condition with medical proof and physical examination if needed. After which, you are assigned a VA Rating which is subject to be increased by you if the rating does not match your conditions.
By providing enough supportive evidence, having developed plantar fasciitis secondarily due to a primary condition, and by proving the severity of your condition through the C & P exams, you can have your chances at increasing VA rating and getting the benefits that you rightly deserve as a veteran.
Read our article above and tell us how helpful it was to claim your VA ratings and benefits for Plantar Fasciitis through the comments section below.