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Last Updated: Jun 13, 2020
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Rickets - Causes Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

About Vitamin deficiency Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Risk factors Heal Cure Cost Prevention

What is Rickets?

Rickets is a condition when the bones become soft and brittle. The most common causes of this disease are lack of Vitamin D and less intake of calcium by children. In other words, malnutrition plays a major role in the damage of the bones.

Genetic conditions can also be another reason for this disease. Children are mainly affected but sometimes adults are also get affected and the condition is called osteomalacia. Along with weak bones, there is also stunted growth and skeletal deformities in the person.

Which vitamin deficiency causes rickets?

The deficiency of Vitamin D causes rickets because of this, absorption of calcium from the intestine stops which leads to the deficiency of calcium in the body. Vitamin D is necessary for absorption of calcium and phosphates from the intestine. It is mainly produced in the body when a person is exposed to sunlight. Other sources of Vitamin D are fish, eggs, and milk. Insufficiency of Vitamin D causes low levels of calcium and phosphate in the body. This results in soft and disfigured bones.

What are the signs and symptoms of rickets?

These are the following symptoms of rickets:

Bone tenderness or bone pain, low level of calcium in the body and blood, Skull softness, knock knees, easy breaking of bones, widening up of wrists, bowed legs of small children, delay in the motor skills, weak muscles, pain in the pelvis, legs and spine, and problems with absorption in the body.

What are the causes of rickets?

These are the several causes of rickets:

  • Lack of Vitamin D in the body: Our body needs Vitamin D so that the calcium from the intestines can be absorbed and if the persons lack Vitamin D, there is always a lack of calcium in the body. Calcium is not properly absorbed from the food items, causing a low level of calcium in the blood. Low calcium levels in the body result in the deformities of bones and teeth. Therefore Vitamin D must be added in diet and food like eggs, fish oils, oily fish like salmon and mackerel, soy milk products, margarine.
  • Genetic defects: Rickets can also be caused by a genetic disorder like Hypophosphatemic rickets, which does not allow the kidney to process proper phosphates. The low level of phosphate is another cause of fragile bones.

How is rickets diagnosed?

While diagnosing rickets doctors gently press the bones of the child to check if there is any abnormality. Tests like x-ray, blood tests and arterial blood gases test are used to determine the levels of calcium, phosphate and check for any skeletal abnormalities in the body. Every part of the child’s body will be paid attention to such as:

  • Skull: Skulls of the babies will be pressed as the babies with rickets have softer skull bones
  • Legs: Some of the healthy toddlers have the problems of bowlegs and if the problems exaggerate then it is the problem of rickets.
  • Chest: Sometimes children who have rickets develop abnormalities in their rib cage. In this case, the rib cage flattens and causes the protrusion of breastbone.
  • Ankles and wrists: Children who suffer from rickets have larger or thicker wrists and ankles than the normal.

How is rickets treated?

The most common medication for rickets is the intake of Vitamin D or taking calcium supplements. But both things need to be taken after the prescription of a doctor as too much intake of Vitamin D is dangerous. The condition of the child is first examined by x-ray and blood test. If the child has a low amount of phosphorus in the body or any rare inherited disorder, the medication is prescribed by the doctor according to the situation.

Who is at risk for developing rickets?

Normally, children are at a high risk of developing rickets since they are at a growing age. It is also because children do not get the proper amount of sunlight and do not follow a diet that is full of nutrition. Many risk factors have been identified for developing rickets. Rickets is common in children between the ages of 6 and 36 months.

It is very common in regions where there is less sunlight and children eat vegetarian food and do not eat milk products. Infants who are fed only on breast milk also have a risk of developing rickets because breast milk has low quantities of Vitamin D. People with dark skin are at higher risk because their skin prevents penetration of sunlight thereby avoiding the body from producing Vitamin D.

How long does rickets take to heal?

Recovering from rickets can take several months depending upon the severity of the disease. If bones of a person have deformities due to rickets, it can be healed within a certain time period and bowed legs also get back in shape without any surgery.

Can rickets be cured?

Rickets can be cured by doing necessary changes in the diet like taking Vitamin D whose deficiency is the main cause of rickets. But medicines should not be left in the middle of the treatment because it prevents the reoccurring of the conditions causing rickets.

What is the cost of rickets treatment in India?

The treatment of rickets in India starts from 2500 INR. This also depends upon the severity of the disease, thus the price keeps on increasing, according to the situation.

How to prevent rickets?

There are several ways in which you can prevent rickets:

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet with good Vitamin D sources
  • Spending time in the sun so that there is the proper intake of natural Vitamin D
  • Supplements of Vitamin D also work
  • In winter months when sunlight is less, face and hands should be exposed to sunlight.
  • Adequate intake of foods rich in Vitamin D, calcium and phosphate are necessary.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hii sir my name is akku my age is 19 I have knock knee kya y without surgery s shi ho skta h.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
Genu valgum, commonly called "knock-knee", is a condition in which the knees angle in and touch each other when the legs are straightened. Individuals with severe valgus deformities are typically unable to touch their feet together while simultane...
1 person found this helpful

I am 17 year old boy and I am having knock knee problem since last year I am do knock knee exercises and using knock knee correction belt but now I am seeing no improvement in my knock knee plss tell any medicine or any thing for that knock knee.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
Knock knees are angular deformities at the knee, in which the head of the deformity points inward. A standing child whose knees touch but whose ankles do not is usually said to have knock knees. This is a form of misalignment and it can cause incr...
1 person found this helpful

She is suffering from knock knees, can you please suggest some advice how to correct knock knees.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Knock knees, also known as genu valgum, is a type of knee alignment seen when a child (or adult) stands up straight with their knees together, but their feet and ankles stay apart adults can benefit from osteotomy surgery on the knee to obtain a c...

I am 24 years old boy with knock knee problem sometimes difficulty walking. Need consultation.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Yes, there is no age limit for corrective surgery for knock knees. The surgical technique used may vary depending on age. Adults can benefit from osteotomy surgery on the knee to obtain a correction. Older patients with arthritis will often receiv...

Hii sir I am 19 year old and, sir I want some advice about knock knee problem please sir help me how to fix knock knee problem please sir.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
If someone with knock knees stands with their knees together, their lower legs will be spread out so their feet and ankles are further apart than normal. Knock knees don't usually cause any other problems, although a few severe cases may cause kne...

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