Radiation Therapy Eases Foot Pain

October 22, 2012 by
Filed under: Foot Care, Health, Sports 

A new study conducted by researchers at Saarland University Medical Center in Germany focused on patients suffering from chronic bone heel spurs. The study showed that radiation therapy provided relief.

With millions of American suffering from heel pain, commonly often diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, this could be a new form of treatment. Plantar fasciitis is a common problem for athletes – with some dealing with it for years and others never beating it.

Plantar fasciitis (PF) is best described as an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot running from the heel to the toes. Those with a severe case of PF often experience extreme pain and it often compromises their ability to walk and stand. It is often most problematic in the morning.

The Saarland study looked at 62 patients followed for one year. Twenty-nine received a standard dose ot radiation therapy, and 33 received a low dose. The radiation therapy used was external bean radiation that delivers radiation only at a specific part of the body.

The patients receiving the standard radiation dose found pain relief to be “highly significantly superior” and of the 29 patients receiving this dose, 80% had complete pain relief. The pain relief continued or improved for as long as 48 weeks after their treatment.

Dr. Marcus Niewald, a radiation oncologist at Saarland said that, “Radiation therapy has been used for its anti-inflammatory effect for more than 60 years.” Researchers are, “… extremely encouraged by the results of the study because evidence of improved quality of life for patients in clearly evident with the standard radiation dose.”

The study also found no acute side effect or long-term toxicity from the radiation therapy.

The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.

If you suffer from chronic plantar fasciitis, ask your podiatrist or doctor to research this study and see if it could be beneficial for you.


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3 Comments on Radiation Therapy Eases Foot Pain

  1. Thomas on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 3:50 am
  2. If you are suffering from chronic inflammation you should do your best to find the underlying cause instead of going for a quick fix, be it radiation therapy or anything else.

  3. Brian on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 7:53 pm
  4. I’d like to understand whether the radiation is directly effecting the actual bone spur or somehow reducing the inflammation surrounding it. I’d expect the inflammation to come back after the treatment was stopped, unless the bone spur itself breaks up under this treatment.

  5. John on Sun, 4th Nov 2012 10:04 pm
  6. I always suggest finding the cause. That’s key to any problem, feet or otherwise. Regarding the radiation’s effect on the spur, I’d have to get the full study to learn more.

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