Plantar Fasciitis and VA Compensation
Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition of the foot in which the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running across the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed. This tissue acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot. When these tissues are overstretched, tears can occur. Repetitive stretching and tearing can then result in pain and inflammation.
Plantar fasciitis most often affects those over the age of 40, but it can occur at any age. Those who work in professions that require prolonged periods on your feet or who partake in certain forms of exercise, such as long-distance running, face an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Also at an increased risk are those who are obese.
How does VA Rate Plantar Fasciitis?
Because plantar fasciitis does not have its own rating criteria, it is rated analogous to other conditions of the feet with the most similar symptomatology. Often, but not always, plantar fasciitis is rated under the diagnostic code for acquired flatfoot.
Plantar fasciitis is rated analogous to flat foot under 38 CFR § 4.71a, diagnostic code 5276.VA rates this condition on a scale of mild to pronounced.
Mild. If symptoms, are relieved by the use of shoe inserts or arch supports, the veteran will be given a non-compensable rating of 0%.
Moderate. If the veteran experiences “inward bowing of the tendo achilis,” or pain upon use or movement of the foot or feet, a 10% rating may be assigned.
Severe. A foot disability is considered severe if there is an obvious deformity, increased pain with movement or use, swelling with use, presence of callosities. If one foot is affected, veterans can receive a 20% disability rating. If both are affected, veterans can receive a 30% rating.
Pronounced. If a veteran experiences severe tenderness; marked pronation and inward displacement; if the Achilles tendon spasms when touched; and the use of orthopedic shoes or devices do not alleviate these symptoms they may be able to receive a 30% disability rating if one foot is affected, and a 50% rating if both are affected. The rating schedule also provides 38 CFR § 4.71a, diagnostic code 5284 for foot injuries besides those addressed in other diagnostic codes. Under this code, foot injuries are rated from moderate to severe and include a note to assign a 40% rating if actual loss of use of the foot occurs. Foot disabilities diagnosed as moderate can receive a 10% disability rating, those that are moderately severe can be rated at 20%, foot disabilities deemed severe can receive a 30% disability rating, and loss of use of a foot is rated at 40%. If the rating schedule does not adequately reflect a veteran’s level of disability, they may be rated on an extraschedular basis.
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