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The Impact of Plantar Fasciitis on VA Disability Ratings: What You Need to Know

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The Impact of Plantar Fasciitis on VA Disability Ratings: What You Need to Know

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The Impact of Plantar Fasciitis on VA Disability Ratings: What You Need to Know

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Veterans who undergo a C & P exam and receive an unfavorable rating for plantar fasciitis may be able to appeal that decision. An experienced VA attorney can assist with the appeal process.

Plantar fasciitis can sometimes be tied to other medical conditions, such as flat feet or back pain. In these cases, the veteran may qualify for a secondary service connection.

Symptoms

The condition called plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a brutal band of fibrous tissue that extends across the bottom of your feet. Understanding the plantar fasciitis VA rating is crucial for veterans dealing with this condition, as it determines the level of compensation they may receive for service-connected foot-related issues. Stress on the feet can trigger it to develop micro-tears, causing inflammation and pain. The pain is typically most potent when you take your first steps in the morning or after prolonged standing. It can also be aggravated by certain sports or athletic activities that put your feet on hard surfaces or require running and jumping. 

You may be eligible for compensation if you have an active service-connected medical condition that can be rated for your plantar fasciitis. This is because the VA can establish a direct service connection for your foot injury if you can show that your time in the military directly caused or exacerbated it. To do so, you must provide evidence, such as medical records of your affliction and an examination report from a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examiner.

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Diagnosis

When filing a new disability claim for plantar fasciitis, it can be challenging to provide documentation connecting the foot problem to your time in service. However, you might have a paper trail of requests for different boots or insoles during service, proving that your feet were subject to stress, contributing to this condition. You will also need to provide a medical examination and a letter from your doctor that connects your current foot problems to your military service (a nexus letter).

VA doctors typically diagnose the condition by examining your foot, including checking for tenderness and exploring the bottom of your heel and the base of your toes. They may also order X-rays to look for calcified heel spurs common with this condition. Your doctor may also write a nexus letter to link your plantar fasciitis to another service-connected disorder, such as flat feet or arthritic knees. This will help increase the chance of a favorable rating.

Treatment

If a Veteran can prove that plantar fasciitis is the result of another service-connected condition, they may receive a secondary disability rating for this painful foot condition. Getting a proper diagnosis from a podiatrist is the first step to getting a medical rating.

Once a doctor has established a diagnosis, they will discuss treatment options. Typically, the first recommendation is rest. This can be difficult for some Veterans due to the demanding nature of their military jobs.

If rest doesn’t help, then nonsurgical treatment methods may be recommended. These include:

Ratings

Due to the physical nature of military service, many veterans suffer from various foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and pes planus. Obtaining documentation from a podiatrist and X-rays can help connect these foot conditions to military service and earn veterans compensation under the VA’s musculoskeletal rating schedule. Veterans with a 30 percent or higher rating on this schedule can be awarded total disability individual unemployability (TDIU) for the condition.

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Often, these veterans also have other medical conditions that are connected to their heel pain and require a showing of aggravation through the C & P exam process. This involves having a doctor show that the heel pain was caused by or aggravated by a secondary service-connected condition like back, hip, knee, or shoulder pain. The right foot care and proper documentation can ensure a higher disability rating during this process. This will allow veterans to receive the financial support and specialized treatment they need.

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