Rickets is disease that affects the bones. It causes them to soften and weaken.
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Rickets is caused by a vitamin D, calcium, or phosphorous shortage a child's body. This may occur when:
Less often, rickets can be caused by other disorders that affect vitamin D absorption or calcium metabolism such as:
Rickets is more common in children aged 6-24 months. It is also more common in children of African American descent.
Factors that may increase your child's chances of getting rickets include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your child's bodily fluids and bone may be tested. This can be done with:
Pictures may be taken of structures inside your child's body. This can be done with an x-ray.
Treatment attempts to:
Treatment to relieve or correct symptoms and bone changes:
Treatment of the underlying cause may include:
To help reduce your child's chance of rickets:
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
The Hospital for Sick Children—About Kids Health
Rickets. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114165/Rickets. Updated April 15, 2016. Accessed May 13, 2016.
Vitamin D deficiency in children (infancy through adolescence). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 3, 2015. Accessed May 13, 2016.
Rickets. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/rickets.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed May 13, 2016.
Balk SJ, Council on Environmental Health; Section on Dermatology. Ultraviolet radiation: a hazard to children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2011;127(3):e791-e817.
Grant WB, Boucher BJ. Requirements for Vitamin D across the life span. Biol Res Nurs. 2011;13(2):120-133.
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. Pediatrics. 2008;122(5):1142-1152.
Last reviewed May 2016 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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