Could botox injections be used for something other than cosmetic surgery?

Researchers may have actually found a medical use for it. A recent study conducted by researchers at Imperial College in London and Fortius Clinic found botox-like injections can actually help in treating runners and cyclists with knee pain, one of the most common injuries in either sport.

This tests were effective on one-eighth of the subjects tested. 45 patients suffering from lateral patellofemoral overload syndrome (LPOS) a common problem faced by runners and cyclists, took part in the study. LPOS typically occurs in the front and side of the knee joint.

In this experiment they gave subjects a injection called Dysport a type of botulinum toxin into a muscle of the hip, along with individualized physiotherapy sessions. A massive 69% of the patients required no further medical treatment and had pain relief even five years after the experiment had concluded. Previous studies have been woefully underwhelming in comparison – showing that 80% of patients continued to have pain symptoms even after treatment, and that 74% had to cut down their activity levels.

Physiotherapist Dr Jo Stephen, co-author of the study from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London and Fortius, said: “As a physiotherapist it can be incredibly frustrating to run out of treatment options for patients with this painful condition. Many athletes who took part in this study had exhausted all other treatment options and this was their last resort. We are really excited that our approach is showing positive results for patients, which could have implications for active people around the world.”

According to the team, the next step in fully utilising the capability of this medicine is analysing muscle activity before and after the Dysport has been administered. Further analysis is required to explore the more nuanced mechanisms at work, which will help increase the success rate of this approach.

Main image: Joe @ Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

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