Botox jabs are now being used to relieve the pain of shoulder arthritis.

British surgeons are injecting the toxin, loved by celebrities and millions of Britons for its ability to reduce lines in the face, into the shoulders of patients with rotator cuff arthropathy.

Some even report being pain-free after just a single jab.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and four tendons that surround the joint. They keep the head of the upper arm bone, the humerus, inside the shallow shoulder socket.

Although the cuff can be damaged by injury, most cases of rotator cuff arthropathy are the result of joint degeneration due to advancing age. It affects up to one in four people at some point in their lives, usually after the age of 50.

As we age, the blood supply to the tendons reduces and they become weaker. This can result in part of the shoulder blade rubbing against the tendons, leading to tears in the tissue and loss of full movement. Even raising an arm above the head can become impossible.

A study by orthopaedic surgeons at the University of Saarland Medical School in Germany found that 13 per cent of people in their 50s have evidence of tears, rising to 51 per cent of people in their 80s.

Initial treatment can include ice or heat packs, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory drugs. But if the damage, or arthritis of the shoulder, is advanced, surgery may be an option.

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