'Second skin' suit gives new lease of life to toddler whose joints dislocated every time she playedBy Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:46 AM on 27th July 2010
Olivia Court (pictured) could barely walk without her knees or hips dislocating, but the toddler can now run and play thanks to a 'second skin' suit
Little Olivia Court suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare condition which causes extreme hypermobility, meaning her joints regularly bend in each and every direction and often dislocate.
The three-year-old's condition was so extreme by the age of one she could not sit up or crawl and her parents were told she would never be able to walk.
But now thanks to a revolutionary lycra suit, that acts as a 'second skin', Olivia can run around and play with other children her age - a dream come true for the energetic toddler.
The suit literally works by holding Olivia in place and stopping the movements of her joints which lead to the painful dislocations.
The specially designed £2,500 body suit - which must be worn eight hours a day, five days a week - helps Olivia's muscles become strong enough to keep her joints in place.
Doctors have been amazed by the results and Olivia will get a new suit each year in the hope she will develop enough strength to combat her condition herself.
Olivia's parents had hoped their local NHS Trust would pay for the suit, but they turned down funding because they said there was a lack of medical evidence the suit actually worked.
It was paid for instead by their local community group Barwell and Earl Shilton Lions Club, who raised the money.
Olivia is now enjoying a much more normal life with parents Lena, 36, and Adrian, 41, a secuirty engineer, in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire.
Mother Lena said: 'Before the suit Olivia would fall over constantly, her joints would dislocate and she would just topple over. It was heart-breaking.
'She was always covered in bruises and would regularly miss nursery because she would suffer from chronic fatigue.
'But the suit has made the world of difference, she can't stop running around now and her hips haven't dislocated since. She can play as a little girl should be able to.
'The suit not only keeps her joints in place but it supports her spine and her core muscles and since wearing it, her hips haven't dislocated once.
'It really has given her a new lease of life, she loves wearing it because she knows it means she can play with her friends for longer.
Olivia has one of the most extreme cases of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, she was born without hip sockets meaning her hips were constantly dislocated.
Olivia aged 17 months after her first hip operation. She suffers from an extreme case of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare condition which causes extreme hypermobility
She said: 'Olivia would try to crawl and her legs would completely give way beneath her.
'The doctor said Olivia had one of the most extreme cases of EDS she had ever seen.'
Olivia underwent two operations to realign her hips, in the hope bones would form to help keep her hips in place. But the operations failed.
Lena said: 'Olivia had a plaster cast from her chest to her knees for eleven months and even then her hips would still dislocate.
'After the operations did not work we were told Olivia would never learn to walk. But as parents we refused to accept this and so we went to see a specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.'
Olivia was put through a two-week intensive physiotherapy session to help build her muscles and teach her to walk.
Lena said: 'It was an awful two weeks, she would scream and cry in pain and couldn't sleep for muscle spasms and cramps but she came home with a walking frame, so it was worth it.
Now at three-year's-old Olivia took her first steps, walking unaided for the first time in her life.
The revolutionary suit was almost Olivia's last chance to be able to play like a normal little girl, it was recommended to Lena by surgeons.