According to research, around8in 10 Americanshave experienced some form of foot pain. If that pain is chronic, you’re more likely to feel pain in other parts of your body as well.
Are you a veteran suffering from painful feet? If so, you could be eligible to receive compensation from the VA to help you cover the costs of medical visits and treatments.
One of the most common forms of foot pain is onychomycosis, a kind oftoe fungusthat affects your toe nails. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this condition, along with the VA disability rating for foot pain. Read on to learn how to complete your claim and receive the payout you deserve.
Get a Free Consultation Today!
What We Cover in This Article on Toe Fungus and Foot Pain
- What isOnychomycosis(Toe Fungus)?
- Affected Populations
- Common Symptoms
- Affect on Your Quality of Life
- Is Onychomycosis a Disability?
- What is the VA Disability Rating for Foot Pain?
- VA Disability Ratings for Service-Related Skin Conditions
- 0% Rating for Skin
- 10% Rating for Skin
- 30% Rating for Skin
- 60% Rating for Skin
- Referencing Past Cases
- Toe Fungus VA Disability as a Skin Condition
- Toe Fungus and Foot Pain as an In-Service Bilateral Condition
- Establishing a Service Connection
- Using the VA Disability Calculator
- Seek VA Compensation For Onychomycosis
What isOnychomycosis(Toe Fungus)?
Onychomycosis, or tinea unguium is also calledtoe fungus. It is a type of fungal infection that can affect both your toenails and your fingernails, though it most commonly occurs in your toenails.
Toenails grow slower and receive a reduced blood supply compared to your fingernails, so they are more prone to infection. In addition, your toenails are frequently shrouded in dark and moist environments, which can encouragethe growth of microorganisms.
Onychomycosis is usually caused by a group of fungi calleddermatophytes that require keratin to grow. Keratin is the type of protein found in your skin, hair and nails.
It is estimated thataround 10%of the general public suffers from this condition. Of those, 20% are at least 60 years old and 50% are 70 years old or older.
Why is onychomycosis more common in older adults? Researchers explain that the condition is linked to other age-related health issues, including:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Immunologic disorders
All three of these are disabilities that carry a VA rating if you can prove a service-connection. This makes toe fungus an easy to link secondary service connection if you have any of those three disabilities.
In addition, other populations that are more susceptible to developing onychomycosis include anyone who suffers from:
- Distorted toenails
- Repeat fungal infections
- Poor immune function
- A history of naildisease or nail trauma
Finally, you could also be at risk if you’re a smoker or if you use shared bathing facilities. Frequently wearing closed-toe footwear can also restrict blood flow and lead to fungal growth. You can also spread onychomycosis through direct contact.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
Wondering if your painful feet can be attributed to onychomycosis? Here are a few of the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Discolored toenails (white, yellow, black or green)
- Brittle toenails
- Thickened toenails
- Toenails that separate from the nail bed
- White patches on the nail bed
- Foul smell
Your physician can examine your feet and perform laboratory testing to confirm your case.
Affect on Your Quality of Life
At the onset, onychomycosis isn’t usually overly painful. In fact, most of the symptoms you’ll first notice are aesthetic in nature. Yet, if left untreated, this condition can quickly get worse.
As it does, its effects become more painful. In time, you’ll find that the skin underneath and around your toenail will become inflamed and sore, feeling painful to the touch.
This can make it difficult to exercise, run errands or simply walk.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about how SMC (Special Monthly Compensation) works to help you get more money for extra expenses related to your disabling condition every month.
Is Onychomycosis a Disability?
Most service-related disabilities are those that affect your quality of life for an extended duration of time.Understanding this,onychomycosis can be a disability, but it is most often short-term and treatable in nature. As such, any rating you receive is unlikely to be a permanent one.
While extensive treatment is usually not required to treat this condition, there are antifungal medications that can help reduce your symptoms and help your toenails heal. There are also medicated nail polishes and creams available, though these are not always as effective. In some cases, nail removal is the only way to ensure the condition is fully treated and will not return.
Veterans can receive VA disability compensation for a range of foot conditions. These can be attributed to a variety of issues, including overusing your feet or injuring your feet while on duty. Whether your bones, tendons, ligaments or nails are injured, you may have a valid case.
Of course, it can often be difficult to trace your foot pain back to an exact event that happened during your time in the military, and that’s OK. Your service-related disability doesn’t have to be linked to something that happened in the military. You just need to be able to show that your diagnosis occurred or got worse while you were in the service.
In general, the VAdisability rating for foot pain is found under 38 CFR § 4.71a: Schedule of Ratings: Musculoskeletal System. The eight diagnostic codes that apply to this schedule are found from5276 to 5283. These are, as follows:
- 5276: Flat feet
- 5277: Weak foot, bilateral
- 5278: Claw foot (pes cavus), acquired
- 5279:Metatarsalgia (anterior, unilateral or bilateral)
- 5280:Hallux valgus (unilateral)
- 5281: Hallux rigidus (unilateral, severe)
- 5282: Hammer toe
- 5283: Malunion ornonunion of tarsal or metatarsal bones
As you might have noticed, there is not a category related to fungal infections of your toe. In fact, most of these conditions will not apply to you if your only symptom is a discolored, brittle, and painful toenail.
To this end, it’s important to consider your symptoms over the exact diagnosis itself. In most cases, this will mean branching outside of the musculoskeletal system ratings and instead, looking at those that cover conditions with symptoms that are similar to yours.
Start your search at 38 CFR§ 4.118: Schedule of Ratings: Skin.
VA Disability Ratings for Service-Related Skin Conditions
Under38 CFR§ 4.118, the VA categorizes and rates various skin conditions that can be traced back to a veteran’s time in the service. Of those, the following diagnostic codes are rated under the VA’s general ratings formula:
- 7806:Dermatitis or eczema
- 7809:Discoid lupus erythematosus
- 7813:Dermatophytosis (includestineaunguium, or onychomycosis)
- 7815:Bullous disorder
- 7820:Skin infections not listed elsewhere
- 7822:Papulosquamous disordersnot listed elsewhere
- 7824:Diseases of keratinization
The most obvious correlation is found under DC 7813. A dermatophytosis infection is one that affects your hair, skin or nails, caused by adermatophyte. As we mentioned earlier, adermatophyte is a type of organism that feeds on keratin, and most often attributed toonychomycosis.
In all, this code also covers the following types of infections:
- Ringworm or fungal infection on your body (tinea corporis)
- Fungal infection on your head or scalp (tinea capitis)
- Fungal infection on your feet (tinea pedis)
- Fungal infection on your beard area (tinea barbae)
- Fungal infection on your nails (tinea unguium, or onychomycosis)
- Fungal infection on your inguinal area/jock itch (tinea cruris)
- Fungal infection that affects skin pigmentation (tinea versicolor)
For all of these above conditions, the following ratings scale applies:
0% Rating for Skin
You have characteristic lesions affecting less than 5% of your entire body or 5% of exposed areas. This rating also applies to anyone who has undergone nothing more than topical therapy to treat their condition over the past year. A zero percent rating isn’t a waste of time, however, because you still qualify for SMC and/or Aid and Attendence financial help.
10% Rating for Skin
You have characteristic lesions affecting between 5% and 20% of your entire body or 5% to 20% of exposed areas.. This rating also applies to anyone who has undergone intermittent systemic therapy ((e.g. corticosteroids, retinoids, etc.) to treat their condition for fewer than six weeks over the past year. A 10% claim opens up a lot of other benefits to help you live your daily life.
30% Rating for Skin
You have characteristic lesions affecting between 20% and 40% of your entire body or 20% to 40% of exposed areas. This rating also applies to anyonewho has undergone systemic therapy to treat their condition for at least six weeks (but not constantly) over the past year. A 30% rating is worth about $508.05 a month all by itself.
Use our VA disability calculator to estimate your
combined VA rating and monthly payment
60% Rating for Skin
You have characteristic lesions affecting more than 40% of your entire body or more than 40% of exposed areas. This rating also applies to anyone who has undergone constant or near-constant systemic therapy to treat their condition over the past year. Once you have a 60% rating, you fulfill one of the requirements for TDIU or 100% VA Disability.
Veterans who can’t hold down a steady job that supports them financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of their service-connected disabilities are eligible for TDIU if they have:
- At least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more
Referencing Past Cases
When you’re ready to submit your claim for your foot pain, it can be a little challenging to know where to start.
For many, most obvious code to check would be7813:Dermatophytosis, as this directly mentionsonychomycosis by name. However, there may be instances in which your symptoms more closely align with other conditions on the above list.
That’s why it can help to learn from others who have walked this same road that you have. Let’s take a look at a few cases in which veterans have received disability benefits for onychomycosis, and how they did it.
Toe Fungus VA Disability as a Skin Condition
Let’s start withthis case.
In this instance, the veteran’s nail and foot fungus was classified underDiagnostic Code 7806: Dermatitis. This is a condition that causes your skin to become itchy, dry, red, and inflamed. This veteran received a 10% rating, as their condition did not cover more than 5% of their entire body or exposes areas affected. Moreover, it did not require the use of corticosteroids or any type of immunosuppressive drugs.
Then, there’s also this case ofbilateral toe fungus.
In medical terms, bilateral means it affects both sides of your body. If your toe fungus is bilateral, that means it affects both your left and right foot. This claimant was able to prove that their condition was incurred on both feet as a result of active military service. In return, they were successful in seeking abilateral onychomycosis VA rating and received compensation to help cover their costs incurred.
Establishing a Service Connection
As mentioned, you are not required to show that your condition was caused by your time in service. You do, however, need to have evidence that you firstexperienced the onset ofsymptoms during that time. Most of this information is contained in your Claims File, or C-File, which includes all of your treatment records from your time in service.
Your claim can be made stronger by the inclusion of these service treatment records, as well as private medical records that back up your claim. These records should show that you sought treatment foronychomycosis while in service or shortly after service. In addition to your medical records, you can also include a lay statement from someone close to you who can attest to your claim.
In the case of the veteran with bilateral toe fungus, his claim included a lay statement from his now-wife. She explained that she had dated the veteran before he went into the service, and that he did not have any form of toe fungus at that time. In addition, she also explained that his condition has persisted since leaving the service, despite repeat treatments.
Our How to Apply for VA Benefits guide goes intogreater detailabout the specific documents and details to put into your application.
Using the VA Disability Calculator
If you’ve ever tried to calculate your projected VA disability rating, you know that 50% plus 30% doesn’t equal 80%. While it would be ideal if the ratings worked that way, it’s no secret thatVA mathcan be more than a little complicated.
That’s why we’ve provided an onlineVA Disability Calculatorto help you better understand the numbers you’re working with. To use the calculator, start by inputting your current level of disability. You can list more than one condition if there is one issue that’s secondary to another.
Then, you’ll enter other key details including your number of dependent children and parents, as well as your marital status. From there, you can find your projected disability rating (shown as a percentage), along with your estimated monthly payment amount.
Seek VA Compensation For Onychomycosis
If your feet hurt for any reason, you need to get to the underlying reason why. If you’re a veteran suffering fromonychomycosis, you may be able to trace this condition back to your time in service.
In addition to learning the VA disability rating for your foot pain, it’s also important to perform further research on VA ratings for skin conditions, especially those listed under diagnostic code7813.
When you’re ready to start assembling records, completing statements and creating your claim, we’re here to help. Our experienced team of VA disability attorneys can help make sure your claim is accurate and complete before you file, helping to improve your chance of acceptance.
To learn more about how our services work or to discuss your claim today, feel free tocontact usat any time.
Talk to Us About Your Claim:
Get a Free Consultation Today!
All of my records were lost in the fire in St. Louis. Can you help me prove my claim?
Yes, we have worked with thousands of veterans with all kinds of evidence, and many that lost their records in that fire. Give us a call and we’ll see what we can do with your case.
What if I’m embarrassed to call and talk about my VA disability over the phone?
We understand that disability claims can get into very personal parts of your life. We have a staff thoroughly trained in preserving your confidentiality and your honor. Your privacy is our highest priority. We only talk to people for lay statements that you suggest and permit and we’ll only share the results of your claim with you, the VA, and any parties your authorize.
What is the VA disability rating for onychomycosis? ›
The Veteran's onychomycosis is rated as 10 percent disabling under DC 7813, which evaluates dermatophytosis (ringworm: of body, tinea corporis; of head, tinea capitis; of feet, tinea pedis; of beard area, tinea barbae; or nails, tinea unguium; of inguinal area (jock itch), tinea cruris), and directs that the condition ...What is the VA rating for toe fungus? ›
§§ 4.3, 4.118. A ten percent rating, but not higher, for bilateral onychomycosis of the toenails and tinea pedis is granted.Can you get VA disability for foot fungus? ›
Entitlement to a rating of 30 percent for bilateral athlete's foot is granted, subject to the law and regulations governing the payment of VA monetary benefits.What is the VA rating for foot pain? ›
Under that code, foot injuries are rated at 40 percent for actual loss of use of the foot, 30 percent if injury is severe, 20 percent if moderately severe, and 10 percent if moderate.Is onychomycosis a chronic condition? ›
Onychomycosis refers to chronic fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. Causative fungi include dermatophytes, yeasts, and nondermatophyte molds. Onychomycosis most often occurs in adults but also occurs in children.Is onychomycosis a fungal disease? ›
Fungal nail infections, also known as “onychomycosis,” are very common. They may affect up to 14% of the general population. Fungal toenail infections are more common than fungal fingernail infections.What health problems can toe fungus cause? ›
- Foot pain. Over time, a nail infected with fungus can become thick and misshapen, causing pain, Dr. ...
- Spread of the fungus. Sometimes untreated toenail fungus can spread to the surrounding skin on the foot. ...
- Widespread infection.
Diagnostic Code 7813 provides ratings for dermatophytosis (or ringworm) in various locations on the body, including the body (tinea corporis), the head (tinea capitis), the feet (tinea pedis), the beard (tinea barbae), the nails (tinea unguium), and the inguinal area, also known as jock itch (tinea cruris).What is the VA rating for dermatitis? ›
Dermatitis or Eczema
For instance, if at least 5% of the body is affected and requires medical treatment, a 10% rating will be assigned. If 40% or more of your skin is affected, and you have had to be on medication nearly constantly for the past year, then a 60% rating is warranted.
If you have suffered a foot- or ankle-related injury, you may qualify for federal disability retirement benefits if the condition impacts your ability to do your job.
Can foot fungus cause other health problems? ›
A severe case of nail fungus can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. And it may lead to other serious infections that spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.What does the military use for foot fungus? ›
A: You are not the first person to try out this bit of military lore. Urine contains urea, which is used at high concentrations to remove fungus-infected toenails (Dermatology, online, May 2013). The concentration of urea in urine is far weaker, but we have heard similar stories from other readers.Is chronic foot pain a VA disability? ›
If you have unilateral pes planus (affecting one foot), you can receive a VA disability rating for foot pain of 20%. If it is bilateral (affects both feet) then your disability rating may be 30%.What is the VA rating for chronic pain? ›
VA does not have a specific diagnostic code or rating criteria for chronic pain. To receive VA disability benefits for chronic pain, the symptoms resulting must be ratable.What is the VA rating for arthritis in feet? ›
How Arthritis Is Rated. Degenerative arthritis, caused by overuse of the joints or an injury, is the most common form of arthritis in veterans and is rated under Diagnostic Code 5003. Veterans receive either a 10% or 20% rating depending on the severity of their symptoms and the number of joints affected.Is onychomycosis a skin disease? ›
In almost all the cases, onychomycosis is caused by dermatophytes, which affect not only the nails but also the skin and the hair, that are tissues containing keratin. Onychomycosis is characterized by the appearance of white, yellow or black spots at the edge or at the base of the nail, near the cuticle.Is onychomycosis a disease or disorder? ›
Onychomycosis accounts for half of all nail disorders, and onychomycosis is the most common nail disease in adults. Toenails are much more likely to be infected than fingernails.What is onychomycosis associated with? ›
Aging is the most common risk factor for onychomycosis, most likely due to poor peripheral circulation, longer exposure to pathogenic fungi, repeated nail trauma, suboptimal immune function, and slower nail growth.What are the long term effects of onychomycosis? ›
The involved nails become thicker and brittle, often causing pain while wearing shoes. It can cause other problems as well which include: Athlete's foot - results in cracked red skin on the foot. Cellulitis - swollen red skin that needs antibiotic treatment.Can toenail fungus spread to skin? ›
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread. Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesn't always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns.
What is the most common type of onychomycosis? ›
Distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO) is the most common form of onychomycosis. It is characterized by invasion of the nail bed and underside of the nail plate beginning at the hyponychium (Fig. 2).Can toenail fungus cause foot pain? ›
Foot Pain. Toenail fungus can cause your nail to become misshapen and thick, which can lead to pain. If the problem gets severe enough, you may not be able to walk without a great deal of discomfort whether you are wearing shoes or not.Is toe fungus painful? ›
Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt.What happens if a toenail fungus goes untreated for years? ›
The problem with not treating toenail fungus goes beyond continued discomfort and discoloration. If the fungus is allowed to continue growing, it can penetrate the skin under the nail and ultimately infect the toe itself. From there, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.Is there are skin test for fungi? ›
In some cases, you may need a fungal culture test to identify a specific fungus and help determine the best treatment for you. During a fungal culture test, your provider may take a small sample of skin (biopsy) or fluid (aspiration). For severe infections, you may need a blood test.How do you test for fungal skin infection? ›
The skin lesion KOH exam is a simple test that helps doctors identify fungal infections on a person's skin, hair, and nails. When doctors perform a KOH exam, they take a skin scraping, which they then place in a potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution and analyze under a microscope.How do you describe a fungal foot infection? ›
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that causes scaly rash that may itch, sting or burn. Athlete's foot can affect one or both feet. Common signs and symptoms are: Scaly, peeling or cracked skin between the toes.Can you get VA disability for skin conditions? ›
The VA awards disability compensation for Skin conditions that are service-connected. The DoD will also rate service-connected Skin conditions as long as they also make the service member Unfit for Duty. For Reservists, Skin conditions must have occurred in or resulted from an injury in the Line of Duty to qualify.Can you get disability for skin conditions? ›
Dermatitis and Disability Benefits
If you are struggling with a skin disorder such as eczema, you may be able to obtain disability benefits. Your eligibility will likely be based on meeting the standards set forth in “Dermatitis” section of the SSA's Blue Book.
Ratings for dermatitis or eczema are rated based on the healthcare needed and how frequently medication is needed to control outbreaks, the type of medication that is needed, and what percent of the body is affected. For instance, if at least 5% of the entire body is affected, a 10% rating will be assigned.
Is chronic pain a permanent disability? ›
Qualifying for Disability Benefits
The SSA does not consider chronic pain to be a disability, so there is no listing for it in the SSA's Blue Book. Chronic pain, even if it is severe and disabling, does not qualify unless you can prove it is caused by a verifiable condition that lasts for at least 12 months.
While in the strictest sense, long-term pain is not normally categorised as a stand-alone disability, in the majority of cases, it is a symptom of a long list of defined disabilities, such as cancer, fibromyalgia, or arthritis.What is the VA rating for neuropathy in hands and feet? ›
All VA ratings for peripheral neuropathy range from between 10% and 40% maximum. Ratings are determined based on the severity of the Veteran's displayed and recorded symptoms. However, a Veteran may be entitled to a maximum rating of 40% disability benefits for each extremity affected.Can toenail fungus cause nerve damage? ›
Complications of toenail fungus
Diabetics have an increased risk for serious complications from any condition affecting the feet, due to potential blood vessel and nerve damage. Minor foot injuries can be slow to heal while progressing unnoticed due to reduced sensations in your feet.
Most common fungal diseases
Common infections of the fingernails or toenails. Caused by the yeast Candida, also called a “vaginal yeast infection.” A common fungal skin infection that often looks like a circular rash. Caused by the yeast Candida, also called “thrush.
The root cause of nail fungus are microscopic organisms that cause an overgrowth of fungi. This can occur in, under, or on the nail. Your toenails more often develop fungus because they are usually inside your shoes, where the warm environment allows fungi to thrive.What is the VA rating for Onychocryptosis? ›
A 10 percent rating for bilateral onychomycosis and onychocryptosis is granted for the entire rating period.Why are onychomycosis so difficult to treat? ›
Onychomycosis is more difficult to treat than most dermatophytoses because of the inherent slow growth of the nail. Older antifungal agents (ketoconazole and griseofulvin) are unsuitable for onychomycosis because of their relatively poor efficacy and potential adverse effects.Can you file off onychomycosis? ›
Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
In white superficial onychomycosis, for example, the white patches of fungus that form on the nails can sometimes simply be filed off and an over-the-counter antifungal topical medication can be applied to the nail to kill the fungus.