The Social Security regulations specifically state that podiatrists are acceptable medical sources for purposes of establishing impairments of the foot, or foot and ankle only, depending on whether the State in which the podiatrist practices permits the practice of podiatry on the foot only, or the foot and ankle. Nonetheless, claimants often overlook podiatrists when seeking Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits.
I have stated in the past not to underestimate the importance of podiatrists when applying for disability benefits, which some claimants apparently do because foot problems are not the primary impairment. When a foot problem is the primary problem, the treating podiatrist’s opinion is paramount.
I represent a 48 year former warehouse worker whose suffered injuries in a vehicular accident. His main injury was to his left foot, although he also sustained severe neck and back injuries. His SSD application was approved today. While the claimant submitted a report from his neurologist explaining how his neck and back injuries prevented him from working, the Administrative Law Judge gave greater emphasis to the opinion of the claimant’s podiatrist.
If you have a foot injury, regardless of whether its your primary problem, your podiatrist’s records and disability opinion should be sought.