What Is Pes Planus?

Pes planus (also known as flat foot) occurs when one’s feet make full contact with the surface the individual is standing on. It results from a fallen arch of the foot, which is caused by loss of the medial longitudinal arch, heel valgus deformity, and medial talar prominence. There are two forms of pes planus; flexible flat foot and rigid flat foot. When someone has flexible flat foot, the arch of his or her foot remains non weight bearing and intact upon heel elevation, despite appearing flat on the floor. Rigid flat foot occurs when the arch is both weight bearing and not present in heel elevation, and is traditionally the more painful form of pes planus. 

Pes planus can result from two types of development:

  • Congenital, meaning the condition results from genetic abnormalities.
  • Acquired, meaning that some event or repeated trauma to the foot caused the development of flat feet. 

Acquired pes planus is a common condition for veterans due to the repeated physical strain they undergo during their military service. Given the repetitive physical activity many service members must endure, like running during boot camp and standing/walking for long periods, they are at a higher risk for developing acquired pes planus. For veterans, congenital pes planus is not subject to VA disability compensation, unless the veteran has proof that the condition worsened during his or her service. Acquired pes planus is subject to compensation, but only if the veteran can prove that it was incurred by his or her military service. 

Getting Service Connected For Pes Planus

The most important evidence a veteran can provide when he or she wants to get service connection for pes planus are his or her medical records. Ideally, these records will include (1) records diagnosing the veteran with pes planus in service and (2) private medical records demonstrating the severity of the condition during service and within one year of discharge. This type of information is important because it shows the VA not only that the veteran’s pes planus directly results from his or her service but also outlines the severity of the condition and can help the VA determine the proper schedular disability rating for the veteran’s flat foot condition.
Pes planus is also a common cause of other physically debilitating conditions, such as degenerative disc disease and knee impairments, so having medical evidence supporting service connection for pes planus can help veterans support claims they may make later on for other physical impairments.

How The VA Rates Pes Planus

Under 38 CFR 4.71a, the VA evaluates pes planus based on the severity of the condition. While the degree of depression of the longitudinal arch is important, it is not the key feature considered during evaluation. Attention instead focuses on the anatomical changes, as compared to normal, in the relationship between the foot and the leg.

Diagnostic Code 5276: Flatfoot, acquired

  • Pronounced; marked pronation, extreme tenderness of plantar surfaces of the feet,  marked inward displacement and severe spasm of the tendo achillis on manipulation, not improved by orthopedic shoes or appliances:
    • Bilateral: 50
    • Unilateral: 30
  • Severe; objective evidence of marked deformity (pronation, abduction, etc.), pain on manipulation and use accentuated, indication of swelling on use, characteristic callosities:
    • Bilateral: 30
    • Unilateral: 20
  • Moderate; weight-bearing line over or medial to great toe, inward bowing of the tendo achillis, pain on manipulation and use of the feet, bilateral or unilateral: 10
  • Mild: symptoms relieved by built-up shoe or arch support: 0

Need Help With Your Pes Planus Claim?

If you are a veteran struggling with pes planus and are looking to get service connection for your condition, or you are seeking legal assistance after a VA denial of your claim, please contact our office today. Our veterans disability lawyers have experience getting service connection for individuals with pes planus and are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.