This is a condition in which there’s softening and weakening of bones in children due to extreme and longstanding deficiency of vitamin D. Rarely, it can be due to inherited disorder with is accompanied by low level of phosphorus and other mineral component of bone.
Children with rickets presents with following signs and symptoms:
- Delay in growth
- Delay development of motor skills
- Muscle weakness
- Knock knees or bowed legs
- Thick wrists and ankles
- Projection of breastbone
Rickets is caused by longstanding deficiency of vitamin D in diet or due to any condition that causes impair absorption of vitamin D in the body. As a result, calcium and phosphorus can’t be absorbed from the food properly. Children not getting enough vitamin D from the sunlight and diet can develop rickets. Certain factors increases the chances of child for developing rickets such as dark skin, northern latitudes, mother’s deficiency of vitamin D during pregnancy, exclusive breastfeed or preterm birth etch. Conditions that can lead to impair absorption of vitamin D are celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney problems.
Rickets if left untreated can cause following complications:
- Retarded growth
- Bone deformation
- Defect of teeth
- Curved spine
Diagnosis depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Apart from this physician will gently press the child’s bone to evaluate any defects. Physician will particularly pay more attention to skull, legs, chest, wrists and ankles. Other than this X-rays are also advised.
Treatment options include:
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements are prescribed.
- If any rare disorder is a cause of rickets supplements of phosphorus can also be prescribed
- For spinal deformities and bowlegs special bracing is require to properly position child’s body as the bone grows.