The VA Disability Rating system can be difficult to understand. In many cases, it can be hard to reduce the daily impact of some service-connected conditions down to a single number without doing an injustice to the sacrifices made by our Veterans.
To ensure that you receive the maximum level of benefits available for your condition, it is important to understand how a given condition affects a person’s life and how it can be diagnosed, treated, and fairly factored into your claim for VA benefits. With over 10,000 Veterans served and counting, the team at Berry Law wants to help you understand the VA’s complex application process and rating system.
Tinea pedis is a common medical condition affecting the feet. It is most often found in individuals who come in frequent contact with damp floors like those found in public showers and those with active lifestyles, which generate large amounts of perspiration in the feet.
However, those with limited mobility or non-ambulatory are also at risk. Because of its connection with active lifestyles and athletic competitors who wear shoes that prevent ventilation, tinea pedis is commonly called “athletes’ foot”.
Tinea pedis involves several symptoms that can negatively impact a Veteran’s quality of life; however, understanding the treatment options available and the underlying causes can make the process of receiving VA benefits for this condition clearer.
Tinea pedis is an infection of the soles of the feet and interdigital areas with a dermatophyte fungus. It commonly causes irritation of the feet which can vary from mild discomfort to acute disabling pain.
Other symptoms include visible identifiers such as dermatitis, a scaly patch of irritated skin, and even peeling and fissuring of the skin, which can lead to further complications and infection.
If left untreated, Tinea pedis can spread and become chronic. Known as “moccasin type” tinea pedis, this condition can result in much more widespread skin peeling and contribute to the development of painful ulcers in the soles of the feet.
Additionally, tinea pedis can lead to the development of other infections, including cellulitis, a bacterial infection that affects the tissue under the skin’s surface. Other potential complications include infection of the lymphatic channels, known as lymphangitis, which can be deadly in some instances.
These complications are more likely to occur and seriously impact people who already have compromised immune systems and those who are non-ambulatory. This poses a significant problem for Veterans who are more likely to have been exposed to toxins and diseases or have otherwise sustained injuries that could cause or aggravate one or both of these conditions.
Even though tinea pedis is generally a manageable illness, the potential complications and possibility of chronic pain mean that this condition can seriously impact a person’s life if treatment is not sought out promptly.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, your best course of action would be to obtain a medical assessment to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment for tinea pedis is generally accomplished in one of two ways depending on the severity of the infection and how it responds to milder forms of treatment.
Most often, medical practitioners will start with a topical treatment that works to kill off the fungal infection. This process can span multiple weeks, as most doctors will require multiple tests showing no bacterial presence before determining the infection is gone.
If the infection does not respond to initial treatment or dermatitis and lesions have spread to the heel of the foot, the next step generally taken by medical care providers will involve oral antifungal agents ranging from moderate to high strength to flush the patient’s system.
Because of their impact on other systems in the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, oral antifungals are generally only reserved to the more severe cases, with the primary focus being placed on preventing the condition from progressing to that stage in the first place.
The underlying causes of tinea pedis closely align with many of the living conditions most Veterans experience during their service. Anyone who has participated in an armed service branch’s training program or been in active service abroad knows that even a shared shower facility is considered a luxury. However, the damp tiled floors in most bathhouses are perfect breeding grounds for the bacteria that cause tinea pedis. All it takes is one soldier to spread the condition to anyone using the facility.
Athlete’s foot is thus named because it thrives in the dark, damp, and poorly ventilated shoes many athletes used to wear. Anyone who has ran a mile in heavy waterproofed combat boots will see that those boots can create the perfect atmosphere for bacterial growth..
In addition to potential causes during a Veteran’s service period, tinea pedis can develop after they have retired as a by-product of other service-related conditions affecting their mobility.
As mentioned above, these pre-existing disabilities may not only make it more likely that tinea pedis will develop but also that disabled Veterans stand at a greater risk to suffer from complications arising out of the spread of the infection.
With their experience in the armed services and out in civilian life, Berry Law can empathize with Veterans seeking the compensation they deserve and can help Veterans new to the denial appeals process navigate the field so that they can focus on recovering.
The VA’s rating system allows VA employees to assess Veteran’s individual medical needs on a case-by-case basis to determine as a percentage how much a Veteran’s disabilities have a tendency to impact their enjoyment of life.
To reach this stage and receive a disability rating, you will have to demonstrate that your tinea pedis is connected to your service.
To prove a service connection, any paperwork you have which can establish a trail of evidence is important. VA claim evaluators will also look at testimony from fellow service members or medical staff who cared for you during your service to help determine if your condition is service-connected.
It can be helpful to gather all medical records relating to your diagnosis, treatment, and the likely cause of your condition. Seeking a consultation with legal counsel can help you better understand what materials are important to bring when trying to prove your tinea pedis was service-connected since this condition can develop after a Veteran has left the service.
The VA evaluates each Veteran on a case-by-case basis, meaning that all of a Veteran’s existing conditions are considered in determining their disability rating. This works in Veterans’ favor in situations where additional health conditions arise as by-products of disabilities for which they already receive VA benefits.
For example, Veterans who are immunocompromised due to health conditions caused or aggravated by their military service can file for VA benefits and establish a service connection for that disability.
Suppose this immunocompromised state contributes to causing or complicating their tinea pedis later in life. In that case, they may be able to prove to the VA that their new condition qualifies them for a higher disability rating, in turn allowing them to receive their maximum compensation.
Claims can be added together to stack all the way to a 100% disability rating in some cases.
Getting a diagnosis, further establishing a claim, and proving your condition was service-connected can be a tricky journey to undertake alone, especially if your initial claim has been denied.
On top of the stress of medical paperwork, phone calls, and tracking down elusive files from their service records, many Veterans are engaged in the day-to-day struggle with the very disabilities they are trying to get compensated for. This is especially true of conditions like tinea pedis which often involve constant irritation or pain. However, you don’t have to go through this fight alone.
With a staff of Veterans from all branches of our armed services, who remember exactly how it felt to lace up those heavy boots, you can trust Berry Law to jump in the trenches with you to help you receive the benefits necessary to make you whole after your sacrifice if your initial claim for benefits is denied.
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