Low-dose radiation treatment for painful plantar enthesophyte: a highly effective therapy with little side effects

Freddy Djiepmo, Bálint Tamaskovics, Edwin Bölke, Matthias Peiper, Jan Haussmann, Judith Neuwahl, Danny Jazmati, Kitti Maas, Livia Schmidt, Roman Gelzhäuser, Christoph Schleich, Stefanie Corradini, Klaus Orth, Martijn van Griensven, Amir Rezazadeh, Kimia Karimi, Wilfried Budach, Christiane Matuschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Plantar enthesophyte is a common degenerative disorder. Surgical and medical treatment options are associated with either poor outcome or high percentage of relapse. Observations have indicated a beneficial effect of radiation therapy. We therefore wanted to evaluate pain reduction using orthovolt or cobalt-based radiation treatment for painful plantar enthesophyte and determine long-term response as well as prognostic parameters in this condition. Methods: We identified a total of 102 consecutive patients treated for a total of 117 symptomatic heel spurs. 59 patients were treated with cobalt radiation, 31 patients with orthovolt therapy and 12 patients with both radiation systems. Primary outcome measure was pain reduction being scored using the modified Rowe Score prior therapy, at the end of each treatment series as well as after 6 weeks. Secondary outcome measure was long-term outcome, evaluated in patients with a follow-up period of longer than 3 years. Results: Before radiation therapy, 61 patients (60.4%) had a score of 0, significant strong pain. At the time of completion of radiation treatment, 3 patients (2.7%) were pain-free (score of 30), whereas 8 patients (7.9%) had still severe pain (score 0). 6 weeks after radiation therapy, 33 patients (32.7%) were pain-free and 8 patients (7.9%) had severe pain (score 0), while at the time data of collection, 74 patients (73%) were free of pain and 1 patient (1%) had strong pain (score 0). Duration of pain before the start of radiation treatment was a significant prognostic factor (p = 0.012) for response to treatment. Conclusion: Radiotherapy of painful plantar enthesophyte is a highly effective therapy with little side effects providing long-term therapeutic response. The only significant prognostic parameter for response to treatment is the duration of pre-radiation therapy pain. Early integration of radiation therapy in the treatment seems to result in superior pain reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalEuropean Journal of Medical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Benign disease
  • Electrons
  • Heel spur
  • Pain
  • Photon therapy
  • Plantar enthesophyte
  • Radiation therapy


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