Randomized multicenter trial on the effect of radiotherapy for plantar Fasciitis (painful heel spur) using very low doses–a study protocol

September 18, 2008


A lot of retrospective data concerning the effect of radiotherapy on the painful heel spur (plantar fasciitis) is available in the literature. Nevertheless, a randomized proof of this effect is still missing. Thus, the GCGBD (German cooperative group on radiotherapy for benign diseases) of the DEGRO (German Society for Radiation Oncology) decided to start a randomized multicenter trial in order to find out if the effect of a conventional total dose is superior compared to that of a very low dose.


In a prospective, controlled and randomized phase III trial two radiotherapy schedules are to be compared:standard arm: total dose 6.0 Gy in single fractions of 1.0 Gy applied twice a weekexperimental arm: total dose 0.6 Gy in single fractions of 0.1 Gy applied twice a week (acting as a placebo)Patients aged over 40 years who have been diagnosed clinically and radiologically to be suffering from a painful heel spur for at least six months can be included. Former trauma, surgery or radiotherapy to the heel are not allowed nor are patients with a severe psychiatric disease or women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. According to the statistical power calculation 100 patients have to be enrolled into each arm. After having obtaining a written informed consent a patient is randomized by the statistician to one of the arms mentioned above. After radiotherapy, the patients are seen first every six weeks, then regularly up to 48 months after therapy, they additionally receive a questionnaire every six weeks after the follow-up examinations. The effect is measured using several target variables (scores): Calcaneodynia-score according to Rowe et al., SF-12 score, and visual analogue scale of pain. The most important endpoint is the pain relief three months after therapy. Patients with an inadequate result are offered a second radiotherapy series applying the standard dose (equally in both arms). This trial protocol has been approved by the expert panel of the DEGRO as well as by the Ethics committee of the Saarland Physicians’ Chamber. The trial is supported by a HOMFOR grant (Saarland University Research Grant).


Current controlled trials ISRCTN94220918.

Niewald M, Seegenschmiedt MH, Micke O, Gräber S; German Cooperative Group on the Radiotherapy for Benign Diseases of the DEGRO German Society for Radiation Oncology.

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