Foot drop is complete or partial paralysis of your foot caused by nerve damage related to an injury or other medical condition. Foot drop makes it difficult to walk and puts you at risk for tripping and falling. How does the VA rate foot drop? Anywhere from 10% to 40%, depending on the severity level. Foot drop often has a secondary service connection, meaning it is caused by another condition.
This article will explain more about foot drop, its VA rating, and how to receive VA disability benefits for it.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
In this article about foot drop
What is foot drop?
Foot drop, also called “dropped foot,” is when you have difficulty lifting the front part of your foot or your toes. If you have it, the front part of your foot likely drags the ground when you take a step. As a result, you may lift your foot higher in the air when you take a step to ensure your toes and the front of your foot clear the ground. It may make it difficult for you to walk or balance yourself. You may also experience tingling or numbness in your foot. Foot drop can happen in one or both feet.
Foot drop happens when part of the muscles in your foot are weak or paralyzed. This weakness can result from nerve injury, nerve disorders, or brain or spinal cord disorders. The most common cause of foot drop is an injury to the peroneal nerve, which runs down your leg and controls the muscles that lift your foot.
Nerve damage resulting in foot drop may be from:
- A spinal cord or other physical injury
- A pinched nerve in the spine
- Crossing your legs, kneeling, or squatting for extended periods
- Nerve damage resulting from diabetes
- Hip or knee replacement surgery
- Wearing a cast
- Remaining immobile for long periods
There also are less common causes for foot drop to consider. Some of these may be illnesses that you’ve already tied to your military service.
Less common causes of foot drop include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Cerebral Palsy
- Traumatic Brain Injury
People with foot drop have difficulty walking and are prone to tripping and falling. It also may cause back and hip pain. These risks increase with age. Foot drop makes it impossible for people to do most labor or walking-intensive jobs. Is foot drop permanent? Depending on the underlying cause, surgery could partially repair foot drop, or it may be a life-long disability.
Is foot drop considered loss of use?
The VA rates foot drop with diagnostic code 8521 in the Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The lowest foot drop rating is 10%, and the highest is 40%.
Complete foot drop has a 40% rating. It means you have a slight droop of all your toes on that foot, and you can’t bend your foot or your toes back and forth. It also may mean you can’t move your foot in and out horizontally, or you can’t feel your foot or toes. You may have no movement below the knee. The compensation for complete foot drop is [VArating40] (more with dependents).
The rating for incomplete foot drop depends on the severity. Here are the VA’s ratings and compensation for incomplete foot drop:
|Description||VA rating||Monthly payment |
How do I service connect foot drop?
It might be difficult to directly connect foot drop to your military service unless you were injured during your service, and the injury immediately resulted in foot drop. More often, foot drop is the symptom of other happenings or conditions.
Secondary service connection is a more likely way to link foot drop to military service in our experience. This secondary connection means you need to first be service-connected for the issue, injury, or illness that caused the foot drop. Then you also could be service connected for foot drop. For example, veterans are more likely than the general population to experience Alzheimer’s or dementia due to traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have Alzheimer’s and developed foot drop, you likely could make a secondary service connection.
How to get VA disability benefits for foot drop
For the VA to consider disability benefits for foot drop, you must file a claim. The VA will usually request a Compensation and Pension exam. The examining physician will examine your foot drop and ask you questions about your service. If the VA schedules an exam, you need to complete the exam to avoid denial of your claim.
You also can use a Disability Benefits Questionnaire to help your claim. A DBQ allows you to address symptoms, severity, possible causes, and how the condition may be related to other disabilities. A private physician also can complete the form for you.
Once the VA processes your claim for benefits, you will receive a confirmation or denial. If the VA denies your benefits, you may want to file an appeal. If you win your appeal, you should receive monthly compensation plus compensation back to when you filed your claim.
Woods and Woods can help
If you experience foot drop that you think connects to your military service, either on its own or secondarily, you deserve VA disability compensation. Contact Woods and Woods to file an initial claim or appeal a rating decision. We have lawyers that handle VA claims for all kinds of different conditions. You only pay us if we win.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Foot drop is when part of the muscles in your foot are weak or paralyzed. It can result in partial or full paralysis of your foot.
Yes, you can receive VA benefits for foot drop. Secondary service connections are the most common way to do this.