Botox, the anti-wrinkle treatment, is all the rage among adults who don’t mind the needle if it will keep them looking young. But research shows that the medication–a toxin that works by causing temporary paralysis of muscles–can also help the genuinely young. As many as 1 in 500 babies are born with clubfoot, a condition in which the heel and toes twist inward. The deformity is corrected by moving the foot into a healthy position and stabilizing it with a cast for several months.
Before this procedure, most babies need to undergo tendon-lengthening surgery so their feet can be comfortably turned. Because Botox lengthens tendons by relaxing them, surgery wasn’t required in trials conducted by Dr. Christina Alvarez of Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. She injected Botox into the calves of some 40 babies, repositioned their club feet and stabilized them with casts. All grew into healthy toddlers.