Rickets

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What are rickets?

Rickets is a childhood bone disorder in which bones soften and become prone to fractures and deformity. Rickets affects mainly children although the disorder may also affect adults. Although rare in industrialized nations, it is still fairly common in some developing countries.

What causes rickets?

Main causes of rickets is the lack of vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D in order to absord calcium from the intestines. Ultraviolet light (sun light) helps our skin cells convert vitamin D from an inactive into an active state. If we do not have enough vitamin D, calcium that we get from food we eat is not absorbed properly, causing hypocalcemia (lower-than-normal blood calcium) to develop. Hypocalcemia results in deformities of bones and teeth as well as neuromuscular problems.

Symptoms of Rickets

  • Bone pain
  • Bone tenderness
  • Bone fractures
  • Curved spine
  • Bumps in ribcage
  • Muscle cramps
  • Legs that bow out (bowlegs)

Risk factors

Age - Rickets is more common in children 6 to 24 months. This is when their bodies need enough calcium to strengthen and develope their bones.

Diet - You may be at a higher risk if you are on a vegetarian diet that does not include fish, milk or eggs.

Skin color - Children of African, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern are at the highest risk for rickets because their skin is darker and requires more sunlight to react and produce vitamin D.

Treatment for Rickets

Rickets can be treated by replacing the missing vitamin or mineral in your body. This will get rid of your symptoms. If you are low in vitamin D, your doctor will tell you to get a safe amount of light and eating food that contain lots of vitamin D like fish, eggs, liver, and milk. If skeletal deformities are present, your child may need braces to position his or her bones correctly.

Work cited

Brunner, Stephanie. "Rickets: causes, symptoms and treatment." Medical news today. Medilexion international, 10 sept. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176941.php.


Cafasso, Jacquelyn, "Rickets" Healthline, N.p. , 7 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2015 http://www.healthline.com/health/rickets.