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Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2002 Sep;6(3):183-90.

Rickets in childhood.

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Saint Mary's Hospital for Women & Children, Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 0JH, United Kingdom.


Bone accretion is a two-stage process, with the osteoblasts laying down osteoid, which is then mineralized. Mineralization of osteoid requires vitamin D to be available in its active form (1,25(OH) 2 D); in addition, mineralization also requires normal levels of serum calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphate. Deficiencies of any of these will result in defective mineralization of bone, in which the mineral-osteoid ratio is reduced (a qualitative abnormality). In the juvenile skeleton deficiencies particularly affect enchondral ossification at the growth plates, giving the characteristic clinical and radiological features of rickets. The bone may be soft, leading to deformity. In this article the causes of rickets in childhood are reviewed, together with the clinical and radiological features and strategies for prevention and treatment.

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