Radiotherapy in painful heel spurs (plantar fasciitis)--results of a national patterns of care study.

Department of Radiotherapy, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany.
International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics (Impact Factor: 4.52). 04/2004; 58(3):828-43. DOI: 10.1016/S0360-3016(03)01620-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT After a general patterns of care study, the German Cooperative Group on Radiotherapy for Benign Diseases conducted a multicenter cohort study to analyze radiotherapy (RT) in painful heel spur syndrome (HSS).
In 2001, a patterns of care study was conducted in all German RT institutions using a standardized structured questionnaire. Patient accrual, patient number, pretreatment, pain record, treatment indications, RT technique, and target volume concepts for painful HSS were assessed. In addition, the functional and subjective outcomes were evaluated.
Of the institutions, 146 (79.3%) returned the questionnaire: 10 (6.8%) reported no clinical experience with RT for HSS, and 136 (93.2%) treated 3621 patients annually, a median of 23 cases/institution. The indications for treatment were chronic or therapy refractory pain. The total dose ranged between 2.5 and 18.75 Gy (median 6), and single fractions ranged between 0.3 and 1. 5 Gy (median 1). Of the responding institutions, 44.9% applied two fractions and 37.5% three fractions weekly. RT was delivered with orthovoltage units (38.2%), linear accelerators (53.7%), (60)Co units (5.1%), or other treatment units (3%). Seventy-six institutions presented their retrospective clinical evaluation in a total of 7947 patients. Pain reduction for at least 3 months was reported in 70%, and persistent pain reduction was reported in 65% of the treated patients. In 19 institutions, a second RT series was applied for inadequate pain response or early pain recurrence. No radiogenic acute or chronic side effects were observed.
The study comprised the largest number of cases reported of RT for painful HSS. Despite variations in the daily RT practice, this national patterns of care study represents a very large number of painful and refractory HSS cases that were treated effectively with RT.

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