Veterans Disability For Plantar Fasciitis

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

If you suffer from a foot condition like plantar fasciitis, you understand how difficult it can be to work, perform everyday tasks, and move around your community. Plantar fasciitis can cause extreme pain and greatly impact the quality of your life. For this reason, VA disability plantar fasciitis benefits are available to veterans who struggle with this debilitating foot condition. VetLaw was established by a veteran of the United States Marine Corps with the sole purpose of guiding and supporting other veterans through the VA process. We have spent years advocating for veterans, working with individuals and their families to file a claim for VA disability benefits, increase their plantar fasciitis VA rating, and successfully appeal claims that were unfairly denied. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting our team today.

What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition that develops when the plantar fascia, a band of tissues that connects your heel to your toe, becomes inflamed. This degenerative condition often causes sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, arch, and/or bottom of the foot. In fact, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, with more than 2 million people in the United States treated for the condition every year.

The nature and severity of plantar fasciitis symptoms vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of this foot condition include:

  • Heel pain
  • Pain in the arch of the foot
  • Stiffness and swelling of the heel
  • Tight Achilles tendon

Many people who suffer from plantar fasciitis report that symptoms are worse in the morning or when standing up after sitting or sleeping. The pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing sensation and usually diminishes after walking. Some individuals state that pain is more intense when walking with bare feet or in shoes with little support.

Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia is strained, causing the ligament to become weak, swollen, and inflamed. Repetitive stretching or tearing of the plantar fascia can irritate this ligament, resulting in plantar fasciitis. Running, prolonged standing at work, exercising on a hard surface, and wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support are all potential causes of this condition.

While anyone can develop this condition, some risk factors may make someone more likely to struggle with plantar fasciitis:

  • Age: individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot structure and mechanics: those who have pes planus (flat feet) or who work with an atypical gait are at a higher risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Weight: obesity plays a major role in the development of plantar fasciitis, as it adds stress to the ligament.
  • Activities and occupation: individuals who spend hours walking or on their feet for work may be more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. The same is true of people who engage in strenuous physical activity or exercise, as is expected of veterans ​who served ​in the armed forces.

How Does Military Service Impact Plantar Fasciitis?

Military service undoubtedly impacts a person’s likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis. Those in the military are often required to spend hours on their feet in challenging terrain, carrying heavy loads, and taking part in strenuous physical activity. This can commonly lead to foot conditions like plantar fasciitis. For this reason, VA disability ​plantar fasciitis benefits​​ have been established to compensate veterans for the stress and costs associated with this condition.

Is Plantar Fasciitis a Disability Covered by the VA?

Yes, plantar fasciitis is considered a disability covered by the VA. To file a claim for this condition, a veteran must first complete and file VA Form 21-526, which is the form used to ​initially ​apply for disability compensation and other related benefits. With this form, the veteran must also include a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis in addition to evidence of an event, illness, or injury during that military service that contributed to the development of their condition. Finally, veterans are also required to prove that there is a medical nexus, or connection, between their diagnosis and the in-service event, illness, or injury.

In some situations, it is more appropriate to claim plantar fasciitis as a secondary condition. Many times, plantar fasciitis develops as a result of an underlying disability, such as pes planus. Due to the fact that the pes planus adds stress to the heel and arch of the foot, the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis can likely be directly linked to that primary condition. In certain cases, this strategy may also help increase a veteran’s plantar fasciitis VA rating.

What Is the VA Rating for Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is rated under Diagnostic Code 5285 of 38 CFR § 4.71a. Veterans will receive a higher plantar fasciitis VA rating if their symptoms are more severe, or if their condition affects both feet. The ratings are assigned based on the following criteria:

  • Plantar fasciitis in one or both feet that is responsive to treatment will receive a rating of 10%.
  • If the plantar fasciitis affects one foot but is not responsive to treatment, the condition will be rated 20%.
  • Plantar fasciitis that impacts both feet and is not responsive to treatment will be rated 30% based on this schedule of ratings.
  • If a veteran loses the use of a foot due to plantar fasciitis, they will be granted a 40% rating.

How to Handle a VA Claim Denial for Plantar Fasciitis

If the VA denies your claim for plantar fasciitis, it is important to move forward with your case strategically. The VA has established three avenues for appealing a denied claim, which include:

  • File a Supplemental Claim to include new and relevant evidence that is necessary to prove your case.
  • Request a Higher-Level Review to determine whether an error or difference of option changes the outcome of your case
  • Appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to submit additional evidence, request a direct review, or schedule a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.

The appeal option that you use will depend on your unique situation and the reason why your initial claim was denied. If the VA claims that you did not provide sufficient evidence establishing a medical nexus, for instance, a supplemental claim may be the right option for you. Alternatively, if the denial can be traced back to human error during the application process, you may find value in requesting a Higher-Level Review. Your attorney will review your case to determine the right course of action to ensure that your appeal is successful.

How VetLaw Can Help You Appeal Your VA Claim Denial for Plantar Fasciitis

If you were denied VA disability plantar fasciitis benefits, you may be feeling frustrated and unsure of how to proceed with your case. At VetLaw, we advocate for the rights of veterans and provide comprehensive guidance through all stages of the appeal process. As experienced attorneys, we are confident in our ability to win your case and help you secure the benefits you deserve. We have helped individuals increase their plantar fasciitis VA rating, navigate the appeals process, and receive full compensation for their disability. To begin your free case review, consider connecting with VetLaw today.