Prospective Randomized Comparison of the Effectiveness of Radiation Therapy and Local Steroid Injection for the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

By Tacoma Radiation

Summary

Based on retrospective and prospective data, radiation therapy is effective for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Local injections of corticosteroids are used to control pain when other conservative treatments have failed. We performed a randomized, prospective trial to compare the effects of radiation therapy with those of local corticosteroid injections. We show the superiority of radiation therapy concerning pain relief and recommend radiation therapy for treating plantar fasciitis.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized trial of radiation therapy for plantar fasciitis and to compare radiation therapy with local steroid injections.

Methods and Materials

Between March 2013 and April 2014, 128 patients with plantar fasciitis were randomized to receive radiation therapy (total dose of 6.0 Gy applied in 6 fractions of 1.0 Gy three times a week) or local corticosteroid injections a 1 ml injection of 40 mg methylprednisolone and 0.5 ml 1% lidocaine under the guidance of palpation. The results were measured using a visual analog scale, a modified von Pannewitz scale, and a 5-level function score. The fundamental phase of the study was 3 months, with a follow-up period of up to 6 months. Results: The median follow-up period for all patients was 12.5 months (range, 6.5-18.6 months). For the radiation therapy patients, the median follow-up period was 13 months (range, 6.5-18.5 months), whereas in the palpation-guided (PG) steroid injection arm, it was 12.1 months (range, 6.5-18.6 months). After 3 months, results in the radiation therapy arm were significantly superior to those in the PG steroid injection arm (visual analog scale, P<.001; modified von Pannewitz scale, P<.001; 5-level function score, P<.001). Requirements for a second treatment did not significantly differ between the 2 groups, but the time interval for the second treatment was significantly shorter in the PG steroid injection group (PZ.045).

Results

The median follow-up period for all patients was 12.5 months (range, 6.5-18.6 months). For the radiation therapy patients, the median follow-up period was 13 months (range, 6.5-18.5 months), whereas in the palpation-guided (PG) steroid injection arm, it was 12.1 months (range, 6.5-18.6 months). After 3 months, results in the radiation therapy arm were significantly superior to those in the PG steroid injection arm (visual analog scale, P<.001; modified von Pannewitz scale, P<.001; 5-level function score, P<.001). Requirements for a second treatment did not significantly differ between the 2 groups, but the time interval for the second treatment was significantly shorter in the PG steroid injection group (PZ.045).

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