The Foot

Topics:

Loss of Use/Amputation of the Foot
Broken Bones
Flat Foot
Claw Foot
Hammer Toe
Metatarsalgia (Morton’s disease)
Bunions (hallux valgus)
Hallux Rigidus
Bilateral Weak Foot
Amputation of the Ball of the Foot
Amputation of the Toes
Other Foot Conditions
DBQ for Foot Conditions
Principles that Apply

Reminder: The VA will give a Military Disability Rating for each service-connected condition a service member has, but the DoD will only rate service-connected conditions that make a service member Unfit for Duty.


Loss of Use/Amputation of the Foot

Code 5167: If any foot condition is so severe that the single foot cannot be used at all or has been amputated, then it is rated 40%. This rating would also be given if two major joints (ankle, knee or hip) were frozen in the leg of the affected foot.

Code 5107: If both feet are amputated, then it is rated 100%.

Code 5110: If both feet have not been amputated but cannot function at all, it is rated 100%.

If both a hand and a foot have been amputated or cannot be used at all, they are rated just once (there cannot be two ratings, one for the foot and one for the hand—just one rating for both) under one of the following codes.

Amputation of Hand

Loss of Use of Hand

Amputation of Foot

Loss of Use of Foot

Code

Rating

x

 

 

x

5104

100%

 

x

x

 

5105

100%

x

 

x

 

5108

100%

 

x

 

x

5111

100%

 

Your condition may also qualify for additional compensation by the VA. Please see the Special Monthly Compensation page for more information.

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Broken Bones

Code 5283: A broken bone in the foot, whether it has not healed properly or at all, is rated on how badly it affects the functioning of the foot. If it is just a bit painful, but overall the foot functions okay, then it is rated 10%. Something more serious, possibly causing significant pain, is rated 20%. Something very serious that significantly affects the use of the foot, but the foot can still be used, is rated 30%.

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Flat Foot

Military disability ratings for flat foot

A foot is considered “flat” when the arch is lower than normal, making the bottom of the foot look flat. Some people are born with flatter feet than others, but it does not cause pain or give them any trouble. In these cases, flat feet cannot be rated.

Code 5276: Flat foot can only be rated if it occurred over time (and is often the result of exercise or other service-connected activities) and causes pain, deformities or any limitation in function.

Mild: If the pain is relieved by shoe-inserts or arch supports, then the condition is rated 0%. Military disability ratings for flat foot

Moderate: A 10% rating is given if there is pain that cannot be relieved by inserts. Often there is also bowing of the Achilles tendon and weight-bearing over the big toe instead of throughout the entire foot. This 10% is given if one or both feet have it. Both feet cannot be individually rated if they are only severe enough to rate a 10%.

Severe: Flat foot is considered severe if there is obvious deformity (like pronation and abduction), significant pain, swelling, and calluses that are built up in abnormal areas. If only one foot has it, then it is rated 20%. If both feet have severe flat foot, then it is rated 30% total.

Military disability ratings for flat foot                                                   Military disability ratings for flat foot

Pronounced: The worst flat foot causes serious pain and tenderness on the sole of the foot. You can only walk on the inside of the foot, and the Achilles tendon spasms when touched. These symptoms cannot be relieved by arch supports or other orthotic devices. One foot is rated 30% and both are rated 50%.

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Claw Foot

Military disability ratings for claw foot

Code 5278: The opposite of flat foot is claw foot. This is when the arch is too arched.

A slightly over-arched foot with no pain receives a 0% rating.

If there is some pain in the ball of the foot, the big toe is flexed upward, but the entire foot cannot flex up and toward the shin very well, then the rating is 10% . This goes for one or both feet –10% total.

Military disability ratings for claw foot

If the arch is so bad that it causes all of the toes to flex upward in order to walk, if there is definite pain on the ball of the foot, and if the foot has trouble flexing upward to the normal 90°, then a single foot rates 20%. Both feet with this condition rate 30%.

 

Military disability ratings for claw foot

The most severe claw foot would result in the ball of the foot being lower than the heel of the foot, in very painful calluses, and in walking on the outside edge of the foot. All toes would also be hammer toes. In one foot, this rates 30%. Both feet, 50%.

Military disability ratings for claw foot

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Hammer Toe

Military disability ratings for hammer toes

Code 5282: When the toes are permanently bent, they are called hammer toes. Often hammer toes are the result of claw foot. In these cases, hammer toes cannot be rated separately. Rate the entire condition under claw foot. If all the toes are hammer toes, but the foot is not a claw foot, then it is rated 10%. Single hammer toes are rated 0%.

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Metatarsalgia (Morton’s disease)

Code 5279: Morton’s disease occurs when a small mass forms over the nerves in between the toes on the pad of the foot. This causes pain when walking or when pressure is applied to these specific points. This is rated 10% whether it is in one foot or both.

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Bunions (hallux valgus)

Code 5280: When the big toe points toward the second toe, a bunion can form on the outside of the big toe. If the bony bump is removed by surgery, then it is rated 10%. If it is so severe that it is as though the big toe had been amputated, then it is also rated 10%. Otherwise, it is not ratable.

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Hallux Rigidus

Code 5281: Hallux rigidus occurs when bone spurs (bony growths) cause arthritis to form at the base of the big toe, causing it to be stiff and hard to move. This condition is rated 10%. This rating cannot be combined with a rating for claw foot. Only one or the other can be rated.

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Bilateral Weak Foot

Code 5277: Weak foot occurs when the muscles moving the foot are not as strong as they should be. This is generally a symptom of another condition and is not rated on its own. Only the underlying condition is rated. For that condition, however, if bilateral (both feet have it) weak foot is present, it cannot be rated less than 10%.

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Amputation of the Ball of the Foot

Code 5166: If the ball of the foot and toes are amputated, then the rating is 40%.

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Amputation of the Toes

Code 5170: If all the toes are amputated, it is rated 30%.

Military disability ratings for amputation of the toes

Code 5171: If the big toe is amputated from the ball of the foot, then it is rated 30%. If the big toe is amputated at a point beyond the ball of the foot, then it is rated 10%.

Code 5172: If one or two toes (not the big toe) are amputated from the ball of the foot, then it is rated 20%. If one or two are amputated at a point beyond the ball of the foot, then it is rated 0%.

Code 5173: If two, three, or four toes (not the big toe) are amputated at a point beyond the ball of the foot, then it is rated 10%. If the big toe is one of the toes amputated, then it increases to 20%.

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Other Foot Conditions

Diseases that affect the foot can be found on the Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System page and cancer in the foot can be found on the Cancer and Tumors of the Musculoskeletal System page.

Code 5284: All other foot conditions and injuries are rated based on their severity and on how much the foot can be used. A moderate condition is rated 10%, a moderately severe condition rated 20%, and a severe condition rated 30%. This coding is only used if none of the other codes can satisfactorily describe the symptoms of the condition. For example, if there is a bone condition in the foot, but it isn’t a break, then it most likely will still be rated under code 5283 as a broken bone since it still affects the same kind of things a broken bone would. Similarly if the condition is a disease, then it should be rated under the code for a similar disease. If it doesn’t fit into any of those other options, then it can be rated here under 5284.

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DBQ for Foot Conditions

Here is the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) used for foot conditions: Foot DBQ.

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Principles that apply

The Amputation Rule: Any ratings for the foot cannot be combined to be more than 40% for the entire foot and 30% for toes only.

Painful Motion: If pain is present with motion, then the minimum rating must be given.

Special Monthly Compensation: If your condition makes it impossible to balance on or push off with your foot, you may qualify for the VA’s Special Monthly Compensation. You may also qualify if your foot has been amputated.

Pyramiding: A single condition can only be rated once! However, if a nerve condition exists that is additional to the foot condition (not simply caused by it), then it can also be rated.

The Joints: When rating arthritis in the feet, all toe joints are considered minor joints.

Probative Value: If two exams record the condition differently, the exam with the most thorough data and performed by the most qualified person in that specialty will be the exam the rating is based on.

A Tie Goes to the Veteran: If there are two equally strong exams with conflicting information, or if the condition can be equally rated under two different codes, then the one that gives the highest rating will be assigned. Every conflict should be resolved in favor of the higher rating.

Accurate Measurements: It is essential that the necessary information to rate your condition is recorded by the physician in your exam. All ranges of motion should be measured with a goniometer. With the information on this page, you should know what needs to be measured and recorded. Make sure this happens correctly to ensure that you receive a proper rating.

Hospital or Convalescent Ratings: Some conditions require periods of hospitalization or constant medical care (at-home nurse, etc.). Any condition that requires this is rated 100% during this intensive treatment. Once it ends, then the 100% rating will continue for a certain period. This period is 3 months unless another length (6 months, 1 year, etc.) is directly specified in the condition ratings. Some patients may need more time to recover than others, so the physician or Rating Authorities can lengthen this time period if they see fit.

Please see the Musculoskeletal Principles and the VASRD Principles pages for further guidance.

For muscle conditions, see The Foot and Lower Leg Muscles page.

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