Rickets is disease resulting from
a vitamin D
shortage in children. It causes bones to soften and weaken.
Rickets results when there is a vitamin D or calcium shortage in a child's body. This may occur when:
is absorbed in the body. It also controls levels of calcium and phosphate in bone. Vitamin D is absorbed in the intestines from food. Vitamin D is also produced by the skin during exposure to sunlight.
Most often, rickets is caused by a shortage of vitamin D. This can result from:
Less often, rickets can be caused by other disorders that affect vitamin D absorption, processing, or action in the body such as:
Factors that may increase your child's chances of getting rickets include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Treatment attempts to:
Treatment of the underlying cause may include:
Treatment to relieve or correct symptoms may include:
To help prevent rickets, your child should:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
About Kids Health
Alberta Human Services
Balk SJ; Council on Environmental Health; Section on Dermatology. Ultraviolet
radiation: a hazard to children and adolescents.
Berkow R, Beers MH, et al.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information—Home Edition. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
Grant WB, Boucher BJ. Requirements for Vitamin D across the life span.
Biol Res Nurs.
Rickets: what it is and how it's treated. Family Doctor.org website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/rickets.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Vitamin D deficiency in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 14, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
Wagner CL, Greer FR, American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents.
Last reviewed February 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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