A little boy crippled by a debilitating illness can walk again - thanks to Botox.

The toxin, usually only used for cosmetic purposes, has transformed nine-year-old William Scott's life.

He was diagnosed with Perthes disease in his left hip two years ago after pains in his leg had caused him to start limping. The disease caused the ball and socket joint in his hip to soften and break down, putting him in constant pain and leaving him wheelchair-bound.

He has spent the last 10 months off school and the family had to move his bedroom downstairs because going to bed had become to great an effort.

But now William, of Great Lumley, County Durham, is recovering thanks to the skill of surgeons and a four month course of Botox injections.

It was used to relax his muscles and allow them to recover after surgery at Sunderland Royal Hospital. He also had to wear a huge brace, which was screwed into his leg.

His mother Karen, 42, said: "We had never heard of Botox being used for anything other than cosmetic reasons.

"We couldn't believe it when they said they were going to inject him with it but it lasted for four months and worked wonders.

"I am so proud of William. He deals with the situation brilliantly. To see him walk again was just incredible. No little boy should have to go through that.

"He had an operation in December and it was not until he was ready to go back to school in September did we think he was ready to walk unaided.

"It is all thanks to his brilliant surgeon Gavin DeKiewiet and the rest of Sunderland Royal's Lower Limb Reconstruction team."

William said he couldn't wait to go to school after 10 months off to see his friends.

The nine-year-old said: "Sometimes I thought I wouldn't be able to walk again but I was just thinking positive.

"The first time I had the bolts changed it was horrible but I just kept on saying to myself that I could play football again. My surgeon was brilliant and so were the nurses.

"I missed my friends a lot when I was off. I came back when. It was great to walk for the first time after the operation it was amazing."

William has been in and out of hospital ever since being diagnosed with the disease two years ago. For the first year he was put on traction at University Hospital North Durham, but this proved unsuccessful.

The disease has caused William's femur to soften and flatten and in December last year doctors fitted an external fixator - metal rods running across his hip and stomach - to try to make it round again.

And after getting it removed earlier this year, William is doing much better - walking for the first time in 19 months.

He has also been able to return to school for the first time in 10 months, and is now working hard to catch up with his schoolwork.