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"Dead Spots" on feet... not entitled to Medical care?

Dog

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I've been searching high and low for an answer to this question, and my Unit, Veterans Affairs, QR&O's, not even the far-reaching scope of Army.ca has been able to provide me with any kind of real answer to my issue... so I'll do something that I haven't done often: start a new thread.

To disclaim: This is not entirely a medical issue, and not entirely an administrative issue, but a combination of the two... the medical side of it concerns me a lot more than anything else though... so here I go.

I am a former member of the Regular Force, who released and changed trades from RegF Infantry to PRes Sapper.

When I did my Release Medical pt.2, I was asked if there was anything that I wanted to mention specifically that bothered me; I mentioned to the Warrant who was conducting the medical that I had numb spots on the top of my feet. He said it was a circulation issue and it would probably clear up a few weeks after I was released and not wearing MkIII's everyday anymore, I don't think he noted it in my Med Docs. He was partly right, as 2 of the spots did just that. Two other spots never regained feeling. This was in the fall of 2006. I still have these spots on my foot, and after working on courses, National Exercises, and 2 Class B contracts with my unit (most of this year on Class B), my feet are getting worse. I'm looking at working a lot more with my unit, and it's reached the point where a single day wearing my boots makes multiple spots on my feet feel.... weird. And the dead spots have begun to grow.

Now, I don't experience any pain from this (obviously), my feet are still functional and mobile, and my boots seem to fit well, and are even fairly comfortable. I don't get blisters or hotspots, and my boots don't make my feet hurt. They are MkIII's. My unit has told me that as a Class A/ Class B under 180 days I am not entitled to a visit to NDMC, and that I was to contact Veterans Affairs because the problem arose out of my RegF service. I did contact VA and was told that short of filing a medical pension claim (which probably would get shot down since I am not actually hurting, and do not have a CF98 to back up my claim), Veterans Affairs can't help me.

Even the Canadian Forces Ombudsman admits that there is not clear policy on Reserve Medical Entitlement and that it needs to be expanded and clarified.

I contacted my unit with this information and was told that they would contact NDMC directly, but not to expect anything for about 6 months, and even then it would probably just be authorization to exchange my MkIII's for the newer GP's.... for a trial period to see if that fixes me before I can even attempt to get authorization to wear anything non-standard. So what happens for that 6 months?

My family doctor tells me I have nerve damage, so it's not going to "heal". It arose out of my military service, and as such I feel that I should at least be able to get looked at by a medical professional. Ideally I would like to be able to go out and at least buy a pair of boots with my own money that won't slowly kill the nerves in my feet. I can stick a pin in the top of my foot and not feel anything... like I said it doesn't physically bother me now, but it's not normal, and I don't want to wait until it becomes a major problem.

Advice?
 

FoverF

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Well, I can't help you with the administrative side of things, but can offer up a related personal experience.

I've done a couple of seasons of tree-planting in the mountains of BC. The job entails carrying 50-100 lbs of trees on your back all day, covering 10-20 km per day, through the mountains, kicking divots into the ground, and kicking a shovel into the divot (repeat x2000 a day). Lots of wear and tear on the joints, and so lots of neat injuries. But there's one that just about EVERYONE got, and I never did figure out how to lick it.

It's called "Christmas toe", and it typically involves one or both of your big toes (sometimes other toes and bits too) going completely numb. It's a result of a nerve in your knee being pinched, and it's called Christmas toe because if you end the tree-planting season in August, you usually get the full feeling back by Christmas. Never had a problem with my boots, but figured new boots was worth a try. I tried Logging boots, cat boots, jungle boots, regular steelies (with and without shank), insoles, tensor bandages, you name it, and no dice. It always went away after the season (usually closer to Halloween than Christmas, to be honest), but I never found a prevention or a cure (other than LOTS of time).

I live a pretty high-impact lifestyle. I hike, I run, I play hockey 2-3 times per week, I snowboard, but this is all downtime compared to tree planting. I only had a few months at a time to aggravate my injury, and it took a few months of 'downtime' to heal. I was also in my early 20's, which probly helped. But the only cure was 'no tree planting (for a long time)'.

So if you have a similar injury, you may indeed have nerve damage, but it may be reversible. I hope a change of boots works for you, but if it doesn't then, I hate to suggest it, but 'no Army (for a long time)' might be your only cure.

Good luck getting the army to help you out with this, and I hope you have a speedy recovery. I'm not a doctor, and this is just my uneducated and unsolicited opinion, based solely on my personal experience, it's worth what you paid for it.

 

Gunner98

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Dog - you state, "My family doctor tells me I have nerve damage, so it's not going to "heal". It arose out of my military service, and as such I feel that I should at least be able to get looked at by a medical professional. Ideally I would like to be able to go out and at least buy a pair of boots with my own money that won't slowly kill the nerves in my feet." 

So you are entitled to medical care (civilian) and are receiving it.  So you should get your civilian physician to write you a prescription that states you need 'special' boots.  Take that prescription to your supervisors, they in turn should recommend:
- that you be allowed to wear non-issue boots (your own money) or
- that you be seen by a military MO to verify the requirement/entitlement (DND pays).

As for the contents of your Release Medical documents, you can request a copy of your Regular Force Medical file through an Access to Information Request, once you receive it you can verify its contents.  More info is available at: http://www.admfincs.forces.gc.ca/admfincs/subjects/DAOD/1002/2_e.asp The databank for Medical Records is DND PPE 810.
 

armyvern

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Dog said:
I contacted my unit with this information and was told that they would contact NDMC directly, but not to expect anything for about 6 months, and even then it would probably just be authorization to exchange my MkIII's for the newer GP's.... for a trial period to see if that fixes me before I can even attempt to get authorization to wear anything non-standard. So what happens for that 6 months?
Advice?

PM inbound on this bit.
 

midgetcop

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How did your family doctor conclude that you had irreversible nerve damage? What kind of tests did he/she conduct? I don't want to presume to know more than a doctor on any medical issue, but if it was just a matter of the doc conducting a quick physical and then making a diagnosis, I'd get a second opinion. Hopefully you can be referred to a neurologist, who will be able to tell you where your nerves are being damaged/pinched. Your condition might even be treatable with physiotherapy.

As I said, I'm not a doctor. But I've been through this whole process before (completely different body part), and this was my experience.
 

Dog

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Thanks to all who replied... I'll take at look at those things, Vern & Frostnipped.

 
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