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First Class Petty Officer
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deedub75 last won the day on March 29

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About deedub75

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    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

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  1. It shouldn't even matter. You should be service connected either way. If you entered the service with them knowing you had pes planus and it was aggravated due to your military service then service connection is warranted. This is what happened my case. If you had no problems with your feet when you entered service and developed pes planus while in service and it is in your records then service connection is warranted. I don't see the issue here. When I worked for VA I saw all types of injuries that happened to service members while on active duty that had nothing to do with active service. The fact is that it doesn't matter as long as it happened while you were on active duty. I can't count how many claims I worked on where a service member was playing basketball and tore an ACL. Did it have anything to do with active duty sevice? No, but it happened while the person was on active duty and they were granted service connection for it. I had a claim where a guy was bench pressing 80lb dumbbells and dropped one on his face breaking several bones in his face and required multiple surgeries. When he got off active duty he was service connected for his injuries. My issues are more with these VA examiners not following the regulations and throwing in their erroneous rules and opinions with no scientific backing whatsoever. It took me almost 10 years to get service connected for my knees and back secondary to pes planus even after they finally granted service connection for pes planus. A nurse practioner first said that I had a normal gait so it was impossible for pes planus to cause my knee and back issues even though my exit exam clearly said I had an abnormal gait. Then they said my abnormal gait wasn't bad enough even going as far as saying that the 'literature' shows that it's impossible for an abnormal gait to cause knee and back issues. Of course she didn't actually cite the 'literature' because it doesn't exist. Then they said my knee and back issues were likely caused by my age and me being overweight. When I filed the claims in 2010 I was like 170lbs and 32 years old.
  2. Reading the evidence in your letter just shows how erroneous these VA examiners can be. What does it even matter whether or not you had a congenital foot issue when entering the military? It seems clear based in the evidence that you developed bilateral foot issues while in service. I had flat feet noted on my entrance exam and had some issues while in active duty. It was noted on my exit exam that I had an abnormal gait. Being ignorant about how VA disability worked, I didn’t know I could file all of the issues I had when I was sent to the VA to file claims as part of my out processing. I only filed for an ankle and a varicocele that was aggravated during my service. These were also on my entrance exam. Even then the examiner just told me think of anything that bothered me on active duty. There were others like allergies and sinusitis that I had no idea VA would service connect. My initial flat foot claim was denied on an ACE exam because the examiner said I didn’t go to the doctor enough times for it while on active duty. There is no such requirement on how many time you have to go get seen for an issue. I asked for a DRO review and it was granted on appeal
  3. My experience at the VAMC have not been good so I get almost all of my care outside of the VAMC. I only go to the VAMC for allergy, sleep clinic, optometry, and dental. I decided to give the VAMC a try about 5 years ago since I was finally living close enough to one but that was an awful experience for me. If the VAMC doesn't have an orthopedic surgeon who does foot surgeries at the VAMC, they will refer you to an outside surgeon. A podiatrist can treat you as well. I would definitely give custom orthotics a try. Some people do fine with them and never have any other issues. I did great with them for a few years but eventually my feet got worse. I had paid walking as well especially barefoot. It felt like I was walking on concrete all of the time even walking around the house. Do you have lower back issues as well? I have issues with my L5 S1 nerve and it's affecting my feet as well so I'm complicated. As far as shoes, New Balance seem to work best for me. I probably need to get a new set of custom orthotics but after my arch reconstruction my surgeon told me not to wear them anymore. I would need a new set to match my new arch. I have ankle instability and plantar fasciitis as well. I'm only 45 years old. I had flat feet going into the military which they knew but they let me in anyway. All of those miles I ran beat my feet and ankles up pretty badly.
  4. Just got a recorded call from LHI a few minutes ago. My exams are finally scheduled for next Thursday!
  5. Yes, the surgeries did help. I was having so much foot and ankle pain due to the stress put on the nerves. Unfortunately, as with most nerve issues, there is some permanent damage to the nerves. The nerves involved are sensory nerves and not motor nerves so I still have all of the motor function in my ankles and feet. The pain I was having is nearly all gone but not completely and I occasionally have issues judging how much pressure to put on the brakes when I drive.
  6. The fact that a new exam has been ordered is a good sign in my opinion. They need to see your current level of disability and fill out a new DBQ. They will also weigh this new evidence from your nexus letter against your previous denial and the new medical opinion that be written in your upcoming exam. Was this nexus written by an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist? Either one would be good. I’m sure your upcoming exam will be conducted by a nurse practitioner and your nexus letter if written by an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist should carry more weight.
  7. I have a long history with flat feet. The VA doctors were useless for me so I ended up going outside of the VA to see a podiatrist and orthopedic surgeon. You should definitely ask you doctor for customs orthotics. They are much better than any over the counter inserts you can buy. They place your feet in a mold and that mold is then used to make the orthotics. They will match your feet perfectly. If you’re having numbness, it’s possible that you’ve developed tarsal tunnel syndrome in your ankle. It’s basically carpal tunnel in your ankle. Flat feet stresses the nerves that run through the inside of your ankles to your feet. I have this in both of my feet. You would need nerve conduction study to confirm this. I just had a tarsal tunnel release surgery on my right foot in February and had my arch rebuilt on my left foot about 5 years ago.
  8. LHI contacted me about 2 months ago.
  9. Exams were moving quickly before the pandemic. I filed a supplemental toward the beginning of February, had in person exams March 13, and had the decision on March 17. I filed new claims on April 30 and I’m still waiting for in person exams.
  10. They combined my pes planus and plantar fasciitis into one rating and gave me 30%. I even had a separate claim for Achilles tendinitis and they combined it with them as well.
  11. Are you asking if she should keep her insurance from her job and use CHAMPVA as secondary? If she keeps her private insurance and sign up for CHAMPVA the CHAMPVA will automatically become secondary. She wouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket other than the premiums for her primary insurance. If she drops her private insurance and opts for CHAMPVA only, she will to pay 20% out of pocket since CHAMPVA covers 80%. I retired from the federal government last year on a disability retirement so I was able to keep my private insurance through them. My wife and children are covered by both the private insurance and CHAMPVA. I had bad experiences with the VAMC so I get all of my healthcare through private doctors. I go to the VAMC for my allergist and CPAP equipment.
  12. I wish I could just get my informal conference completed. There are no exams needed for my HLR. It's just to correct the effective date. I have my stack of evidence ready!!! Priorities change all of the time at VBA. With covid-19 throwing a wrench in everything, who knows what the priority is now?
  13. There seems to be an issue with this within the VA probably due to lack to training. When I worked for the VA there were constant changes being made and we couldn't always keep up with them. I have claims that I've been continuously pursuing since October 2010. It took 3+ years just to get the denial and then it sat at BVA for another 3+ years before the claims were remanded back to the VA examiner. I'd read that remands can take forever so I opted into RAMP with a higher level review. It was denied but since there was a duty to assist error I was allowed another HLR which was also denied. I got a nexus letter from my orthopedic surgeon and filed a supplemental claim in February 2020. I had C&P exams in March 2020 and my claims were quickly approved a week after the exams. I've never seen a claim move so quickly. Unfortunately, they made the effective date the date of the supplemental instead of going back to October 2010. I filed another HLR for them to correct the effective date and I cited 38 CFR 3.2500(c) and 38 CFR 3.2500(h)(2). We'll see what happens as some on the this board have had success doing so. If not, then it's back to the BVA for them to fix it.
  14. Mine go back to 2010. Finally got them approved via a supplemental claim that I filed in February 2020. Unfortunately, they made the effective date the date that I filed the supplemental claim even though I continuously pursued the claims through the legacy appeals process. It was remanded and sat for awhile until I filed an HLR that was denied and then approved on the supplemental. I have an HLR in now to fix the effective date. Still waiting on an informal conference. I have new claims in now that I'm waiting on LHI to schedule exams.
  15. Unfortunately, mine have to be do in person. I call every week and they tell me they are trying to find an examiner. I think the VA has an exam backlog of around 300,000 when their normal inventory is around 100,000.
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