Claimant Who Fractured Her Right Foot In A Work Accident And Subsequently Developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Was Entitled To Benefits Under The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Claimant, who fractured her right foot in a work accident and subsequently developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy and depression, was entitled to benefits for 40 percent permanent partial disability under section 8(d)2 of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Commission found significant that claimant was required to wear a special shoe that had a steel bar in the center of it, a rocker to keep the bal of her feet off the ground and a silicone insert.

Claimant injured her right foot when she caught it in a hose and twisted her ankle. She was diagnosed with a fracture at the base of the fifth metatarsal and fitted with a cast. However, her foot did no improve and she was sent to another doctor, who diagnosed reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Claimant also underwent an excision of a bone fragment lodged in the ankle. She was having problems walking because of pain and underwent several sympathetic nerve blocks in her back. She was also admitted to the hospital for placement of a lumbar epidural catheter to help control pain. The device had to be removed because the catheter shifted. The doctor also placed a spinal cord stimulator in claimant’s back to help control pain. The stimulator had to be changed because of complications that required further hospitalizations. Also, claimant was diagnosed with major depressive disorder resulting from the reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

At the time of hearing, claimant was performing very restricted clerical duties for defendant. Her activities were severely curtailed. She no longer engaged in sports. She has pain her back and right foot. She takes daily medication for pain and depression.

The arbitrator found claimant entitled to permanent disability to the extent of 25 percent under section 8(d)2 of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

The Commission modified the decision of the arbitrator to find claimant permanently disabled to the extent of 40 percent. The Commission noted that as a result of the injury, claimant was required to wear a special shoe that had a steel bar in the center of it, a rocker to keep the ball of her feet off the ground and a silicone insert. Also, the Commission pointed to claimant’s testimony that her right foot was still swollen and that she experienced constant back pain. Also, the Commission pointed out that claimant had undergone surgery to remove a bone spur and had a 5lb weight restriction.