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Botox injections help college athlete make strides towards running again

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SALEM (WSLS10) - A new and unusual treatment is helping a student athlete run again. Many associate Botox with cosmetic surgeries, but for Margo Warner, Botox injections are helping her make strides towards recovery.

It's a stride she struggled to keep when Carilion doctors diagnosed her with a rare condition.

"The numbness would happen," explained Warner. "It would feel like my feet would get really heavy like bricks. And so, it was really difficult to pick up."

Doctors say she has Functional Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome. Basically, every time Warner ran, her calf muscles would expand, compressing a major artery and cutting off the blood flow to her feet.

"If you're able to reduce that muscular compression, which we propose you can do by injecting Botox to functionally remodel the muscle, then we're able to have a good success rate," said Dr. Mark Kasmer, who practices sports medicine at Carilion.

Doctors use Botox for muscle spasm and cerebral palsy, but using injections to weaken muscles and retrain tissue is not a common practice.

Carilion is the only hospital in the Roanoke Valley that uses Botox to aid athletic injuries.

"It's probably in literature three or four times in separate case studies and then there's the physician in Wyoming," said Kasmer.

After three treatments, a series of shots, two to each leg; Warner is back enjoying the sport she loves.

"It's nice not to be in pain all the time," said Warner.

Because of this unique method in using Botox, she is now able to run about 25 miles a week on average, compared to before she was only running one and a half at most.