Rickets Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of rickets include:

  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • dental problems
  • muscle weakness (rickety myopathy or "floppy baby syndrome" or "slinky baby" (where the baby is floppy or slinky-like))
  • increased tendency for fractures (easily broken bones), especially greenstick fractures
  • Skeletal deformity
    • Toddlers: Bowed legs (genu varum)
    • Older children: Knock-knees (genu valgum) or "windswept knees"
    • Cranial, spinal, and pelvic deformities
    • Growth disturbance
    • Hypocalcemia (low level of calcium in the blood), and
    • Tetany (uncontrolled muscle spasms all over the body).
    • Craniotabes (soft skull)
    • Costochondral swelling (aka "rickety rosary" or "rachitic rosary")
    • Harrison's groove
    • Double malleoli sign due to metaphyseal hyperplasia
    • Widening of wrist raises early suspicion, it is due to metaphysial cartilage hyperplasia.X-ray or radiograph of an advanced sufferer from rickets tends to present in a classic way: bow legs (outward curve of long bone of the legs) and a deformed chest. Changes in the skull also occur causing a distinctive "square headed" appearance. These deformities persist into adult life if not treated.

Long-term consequences include permanent bends or disfiguration of the long bones, and a curved back.

Further Reading

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Last Updated: Feb 23, 2013

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  1. Jean Tau'a Jean Tau'a United States says:

    As a young child I had rickets.  Now I am 68 years old and I am wondering if there has ever been follow up studies to see the effects in older adults who had rickets as a child.  I have a terrible time with osteo arthritis.  I have had my knees replaced 6 times, I have arthritis in almost every joint in my body.  I would like to know if there is any known correlation between the two.  Thank you very much.

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