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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Botox injection to help boy walk
Oliver Smith
Oliver Smith is being injected with botox to help him walk
A four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has been given revolutionary treatment involving a drug more commonly used to reduce the signs of aging.

Oliver Smith from Rothwell, Northamptonshire, has had his muscles injected with botox to help him walk.

Oliver was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old and has only ever been able to walk with the help of splints and walking sticks.

It is hoped the toxin will relax his muscles and allow him to walk unaided.

His mother Sarah, 24, said: "Initially we were told that he would never walk at all, but Oliver has always been very determined and he manages to get around with two leg splints and walking sticks.

I don't want to get my hopes up
Sarah Smith

"I had heard that botox could be used to help treat cerebral palsy but initially dismissed it as I thought it was purely a cosmetic thing.

"But the surgeon suggested it and said there will be no bad side effects."

Oliver suffers from spasms which cause the muscles in his legs to become tight and make walking difficult.

At the moment he has to have splints strapped to his legs, which are uncomfortable and can make walking clumsy.

Sarah, who also has a six-month-old son Evan, added: "I don't want to get my hopes up. Every child is different so it's impossible to say if it will be successful.

"The botox will take about 14 days to kick in then I will have to give him physio every day.

"I really hope that it makes life easier and more comfortable for Oliver. He hates having his leg splints put on.

"It would just be nice for him to be able to get himself around the house on his own."

If the treatment at Kettering General Hospital is successful Oliver will be given follow-up botox injections every six months to two years.

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