Can I Obtain VA Disability for Flat Feet?
Pes Planus is a condition of the foot in which the arches on the inside of your foot are flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the ground when you stand up.
If you are a veteran with flatfoot or flat feet, you may be wondering if you are able to obtain VA disability compensation for your flat feet. The answer is yes. Today we will discuss what flat feet is and how the VA rates flat feet.
What is Flatfoot (Pes Planus)?
Otherwise, known as flat feet, Pes Planus is a foot deformity in which the arch of the foot in the inside is flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the ground when you stand up whereas a normal arch would not do so. Essentially, this is a very common condition among most veterans looking to claim VA disability benefits.
This condition can develop later on in life and risk factors can include rigorous and repeated physical activity from military service or aggravation by military service. Acquired flatfoot can happen bilaterally, meaning in both feet. It can occur due to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction though this is not the only cause. Most veterans do not show any signs or symptoms that are associated with flat feet. Some veterans can experience foot pain and swelling. Sometimes the pain worsens with activity. Some of the more severe symptoms can lead to other issues such as lower leg and back pain or difficulty in performing certain foot movements and foot problems.
Flat feet can affect the alignment and biomechanics of the body when a person is standing, walking, or running which can increase the likelihood of pain developing in the hips, knees, and ankles.
The severity of flat feet can vary from case to case and can also contribute to other conditions including but not limited to:
- Arthritis in the ankle(s)
- Plantar fasciitis
How Does the VA Rate Flat Feet (Pes Planus)?
You can be rated between a 0 percent rating and for more severe cases, a 50 percent rating. The ratings are based on the severity of your symptoms from mild to pronounced flat feet.
The VA uses the rating schedule under the musculoskeletal system under 38 C.F.R. § 4.71a, under the diagnostic code 5276. You can be rated between a 0 percent rating and for more severe cases, a 50 percent rating. The ratings are based on the severity of your symptoms from mild to pronounced flat feet. The rating schedule looks like the following:
- Pronounced flat feet is when a veteran experiences marked pronation (walking on the inside of the foot), extreme tenderness of the plantar surfaces of the feet, marked inward displacement, and severe spasm of the Achilles tendon on manipulation, and not improved by orthopedic shoes or appliances. Veterans who have pronounced bilateral flat feet are rated at 50 percent. Veterans with pronounced unilateral (only one foot), are rated at 30 percent.
- Severe flat feet is when the evidence shows objective marked flatfoot deformities such as pronation or abduction (when the foot cannot point straight forward from the body), pain on manipulation, and use accentuated, an indication of swelling on use, characteristic callosities. Veterans with severe bilateral flat feet can be rated at 30 percent. Veterans with severe unilateral flat feet can be rated at 20 percent.
- Moderate flat feet is when a veteran’s weight-bearing line is over the medial great toe, there is inward bowing of the Achilles tendon, and pain on manipulation and use of the feet. Veterans with moderate bilateral and unilateral flat feet are rated at 10 percent.
- Mild flat feet, or flexible flatfoot, are veterans whose symptoms are relieved by using arch supports or a built-up shoe is rated at 0 percent, which is a non-compensable rating.
What Do I Do if VA Denies My Flat Feet Claim?
If you have been diagnosed with flat feet and are experiencing symptoms of flat feet, it may be beneficial to apply for VA disability compensation. If you have been denied or received an unfavorable decision, please contact our office to see how we can assist you with an appeal.