CCK Under 5: Plantar Fasciitis
Kevin Medeiros: Welcome to CCK Live and Under Five. My name is Kevin Medeiros and today we’re going to talk about VA disability benefits for plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue running across the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the toes.
The condition becomes problematic when that thick band of tissue becomes inflamed. This tissue acts as a shock absorber of sorts and supports the arch of the foot. When these tissues are overstretched, tears can occur. Those can occur or inflammation can occur by repetitive stretching and tearing, which many veterans do. The tissues on the bottom of the feet can become painful and inflamed.
Plantar fasciitis and can also be exacerbated by another foot condition called pes planus. Like I was mentioning risk factors include prolonged periods of time on your feet. Obesity can also be a cause or an aggravating factor. VA rates plantar fasciitis under the orthopedic section of its regulations, which is section 4.71A, and the specific diagnostic code contemplating that condition is 5285.
So depending on the severity of the condition, veterans can receive low to high ratings. Higher ratings when the condition affects both feet and is not responsive to treatment. Walking through the ratings that are available, veterans can receive a 10% rating for plantar fasciitis affecting one or both feet that is generally responsive to treatment.
As we move up into the higher ratings, you’ll notice that the condition becomes progressively more severe. So the 20% rating is for plantar fasciitis affecting one foot that is not responsive to treatment. This means that there is no relief from non-surgical or surgical treatment. A 30% rating will be warranted if the plantar fasciitis affects both feet and is again, not responsive to treatment.
The highest available rating for plantar fasciitis is 40% ratings. This is the most severe that VA contemplates. A 40% rating is warranted for loss of use of the foot that can be rated alternatively under diagnostic code 5167. The condition needs to be relatively severe and equate but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no functioning in the foot whatsoever, but it equates to basically having no functional ability in the foot.
Plantar fasciitis can be, in most cases, aggravated by other foot conditions, specifically pes planus, which is flat feet. But the conditions often tend to interact with each other. So the pes planus adds pressure to the heel and that’s where the plantar fascia is located. A lot of the time, if a veteran has pes planus, it can often worse in the severity of their plantar fasciitis.
The way to submit the claim for service connection or if a veteran is already service-connected for the condition, a claim for an increased rating, that’s done on VA form 526EZ. If the plantar fasciitis along with a veteran’s other service-connected condition prevents you from working, you may qualify for TDIU which is a total disability rating based on unemployability.
So if a veteran’s service-connected conditions don’t allow them to perform substantially gainful employment, VA will recognize them as 100% disabled even if their combined ratings don’t reach 100% on their own.
If you’d like to learn more about plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions, check out our video on VA disability for foot conditions on YouTube. You can also visit our blog at cck-law.com/blog for more in-depth information on a range of veterans-related topics. Thank you for tuning in. You can always stay in the know by following CCK on social media.
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