November 29, 2023
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BONE DISEASE Health Medical

What Are The Causes of Osteomalacia, Symptoms & Treatment

Osteomalacia is also known as soft bones, in which your bones lack vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium from the diet. If you do not have enough vitamin D or calcium, you will develop a high risk of osteomalacia. In this article, you will learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment plans of osteomalacia.

What is osteomalacia?

Osteomalacia is the disease of bones that becomes soft and weak. It is the condition in which the bones can break easily. It occurs when you have low minerals, leading to the breakdown of bones faster than re-development. A common condition found in adults. In children, low amounts of vitamin D may develop rickets. 

Osteomalacia is more likely to develop in females and often occurs during pregnancy. It’s not similar to osteoporosis. Both can result in breaking bones. However, osteomalacia is a disorder of bones not linked to hardening, osteoporosis is the weakening of the bone. 

Symptoms of osteomalacia

Here are the symptoms of osteomalacia if you are experiencing soft bones, including

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Bones that can break easily
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness in the muscle of the highs and arms
  • Difficulty moving up from sitting or walking on the stairs

If you have these symptoms, speak to a healthcare provider online to diagnose your medical condition. 

Symptoms of osteomalacia

Causes of osteomalacia

Minerals and vitamins are very significant in maintaining bones strong and in shape. If you do not receive a recommended amount of these, you may develop a high risk of osteomalacia. Several other reasons can also lead to osteomalacia, such as

  • Low vitamin D intake – Your body is not receiving enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium from foods you take. You may receive it from the sunlight or particular foods or supplements. Low vitamin D levels can affect your overall bone health. 
  • Less ability to absorb vitamin DIndigestion of vitamins is another cause of osteomalacia. If you have a recent surgery that involves the partial removal of your stomach or intestines, you may develop the risk of osteomalacia.

Other conditions that may lower the digestion ability to absorb vitamin D include celiac disease, particularly liver or kidney disease. It affects the body’s ability to get vitamin D or changes it to its most active form. 

Few particular seizure medications may develop it as well. You cannot digest vitamins if your kidneys are not correctly controlling acids. By this time, the extra acid in your body fluids may gradually dissolve the bone. 

Causes of osteomalacia

How to diagnose osteomalacia?

A healthcare provider generally recommends ordering the following to diagnose osteomalacia, including:

  • Blood tests – It allows you to measure the vitamin D level in your body. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is the blood test that determines the levels of ALP in your blood. ALP is a substance developed by the body’s cells that hel[s in the formation of bones. People usually have high ALP levels if they carry osteomalacia. 
  • X-rays – This helps to check the internal bone structure of the body. 
  • Bone mineral density exams – It is the test that determines the calcium and phosphate levels in your bones. 

In specific cases, a doctor may also recommend a bone biopsy. A biopsy involves collecting the small tissue of a substance (bone in this case) to diagnose a medical problem. 

How to Diagnosed osteomalacia

Risk factors 

Several risk factors may lead to osteomalacia. Among them, the leading factor is vitamin D deficiency in people. Individuals who are more prone to the deficiency of vitamin D include:

  • If they are weak, ill, or cannot go outside. 
  • If they wear clothes that cover their overall skin. 
  • If they have dark skin, they may have difficulty taking vitamin D from sunlight compared to paler skin. It can consider people from Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian groups. 

If you are pregnant and a breastfeeding woman, you may need a high amount of vitamin D. In a few cases, the other possible factors that can lead to people at high risk of osteomalacia, including

  • Liver diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Intake of a few medications such as epilepsy
  • If you have an ongoing or had recent surgery on your stomach

If you have any of these risk factors, you may need to consult with a healthcare provider online


The best way to treat osteomalacia is to take vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate supplements. These levels may change from person to person and vary depending on the medical condition. If you have intestinal problems (the intestines lose the ability to absorb nutrients or vitamins accurately), you may need high calcium and vitamin D amounts. 

Foods that contain vitamin D include:

  • Egg yolk
  • Red meat
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Oily fish
  • Orange juice 
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal
  • Cheese
  • Fish (salmon, sardines, swordfish)

Besides vitamin D, you will also need calcium essential for maintaining strong bones, as low calcium levels may lead to osteomalacia. Most people can receive recommended calcium amounts from the diet, a lack of calcium is not a frequent individual reason for osteomalacia. You should know the foods that have high amounts of calcium. 

The essential sources of calcium are:

  • Soya beans
  • Nuts
  • Cereal
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, and others
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Soya drinks with calcium
  • Fish like sardines
  • Bread and things that forms with fortified floor

Here are the other possible treatments to cure osteomalacia symptoms can include:

  • Taking enough amount of exposure to sunlight
  • Using braces to decrease or protect the abnormalities in the shape of bones
  • In extreme cases, you may need to undergo surgery to resist bone deformation

Daily Lifestyle To Consider

Several lifestyle changes can help to maintain healthy bones, including 

  • Taking enough vitamin D and calcium
  • Avoid smoking
  • Taking daily sunshine
  • Reducing the intake of alcohol
  • Keeping a healthy and balanced weight
  • Doing physical activities such as walking


Exercise is recommended to keep strong bones and muscles, specifically weight-bearing exercise. You can consider doing those exercises that need little resistance against muscles, allowing them to grow stronger. It may include walking, lifting weights, or running. 

Avoid considering heavy and extreme exercise if you are recovering from any fractures or cracks in the bones. 


Osteomalacia is a condition that leads to deform or soften the bones. Vitamin D or calcium deficiencies are the leading causes of osteomalacia. If you consider taking enough vitamin D or calcium in the diet, you can reduce the risk of developing osteomalacia. You can talk to a healthcare provider online if you are experiencing the symptoms of osteomalacia. 


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