Radiotherapy

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What is Radiotherapy?

 

Radiotherapy has been used traditionally to treat cancer using high-energy rays, such as x-rays, which destroys cancer cells in the area where it is given. More recently, researchers have begun to experiment with the use of radiotherapy to treat non-cancerous conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

How Does it work?

When used to treat plantar fasciitis the a low dose of radiotherapy is administered to the painful area of the heel, which modulates a variety of inflammation processes and the function of cellular components believed to be beneficial in treating chronic inflammation and degenerative diseased tissue as a chronic plantar fasciitis.

Does it Work?

 

There have been a few studies pubished on the effectiveness of radiotherapy for plantar fasciitis. Across these studies, the success varies between 50% - 85%.

Risks

The risk of radiation-induced cancer after radiotherapy for plantar fasciitis will be similar to that estimated for Dupuytren’s disease (0.02%) since the doses and age range are similar. The risk decreases with increasing age at treatment. As a matter of course patients should be counseled as to the risk of radiation-induced cancer, which should be more strongly emphasised in younger patients.

 

The risk of other cancers outside the radiation field, assuming adequate shielding for the remaining parts of the body, should be small due to the location of the radiation field at the extremity of the leg. Other possible consequences of radiation exposure at the recommended dose will be similar to those indicated for Dupuytren’s disease.

My Verdict

Radiotherapy appears to be an effective treatment based on the limited available evidence. Although there are not many publised studies, the quality of the current studies published is good which helps support this treatment option. Radiotherapy may be considered for patients who have resistant plantar heel pain and have failed other recognised conservative treatments.

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