Osteomalacia means "soft bones." Osteomalacia is a disease that weakens bones and can cause them to break more easily. It is a disorder of decreased mineralization, which results in bone breaking down faster than it can re-form. It is a condition that occurs in adults. 


A lack of the proper amount of calcium in the blood can lead to weak and soft bones. Low blood calcium can be caused by low vitamin D level in the blood.

Vitamin D is absorbed from food or produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Lack of vitamin D produced by the skin may occur in people who:

  • Live in climates with little exposure to sunlight
  • Must stay indoors
  • Work indoors during the daylight hours
  • Wear clothes that cover most of their skin
  • Have dark skin pigmentation
  • Use very strong sunscreen

You may not get enough vitamin D from your diet if you:

  • Are lactose intolerant (have trouble digesting milk products)
  • Do not eat or drink milk products (more common in older adults)
  • Follow a vegetarian diet
  • Are not able to absorb vitamin D well in the intestines, such as after gastric bypass surgery



  • Bone pain, especially in your hips
  • Pain in lower back, pelvis, legs, upper thighs, knees, and ribs
  • weak, sore, and stiff muscles, especially in the trunk, shoulders, buttocks, and upper legs
  • difficulty walking
  • bones that can be sensitive to slight knocks
  • muscle spasms
  • pseudofractures of weight-bearing bones, such as the feet and pelvis

If you also have very low levels of calcium in your blood, you may have:

  • irregular heart rhythms
  • numbness around your mouth
  • numbness in your arms and legs
  • spasms in your hands and feet

How To Diagnose Osteomalacia?

Blood tests are done to diagnose the condition. If it shows any of the following, you may have osteomalacia or another bone disorder:

  • low levels of vitamin D
  • low levels of calcium
  • low levels of phosphorus

Alkaline phosphatase isoenzymes test is another method to help make the diagnosis. High levels indicate osteomalacia.

Another blood test can check your levels of parathyroid hormone. High levels of this hormone suggest insufficient vitamin D and other related problems.

X-rays and other imaging tests can show small cracks in your bones. These cracks are called Looser’s transformation zones. Fractures can begin in these zones even with small injuries.

Bone biopsy also helps in diagnosing osteomalacia. A needle is inserted through your skin and muscle and into your bone to get a small sample. Sample is put on a slide to examine it under a microscope.

Usually, an X-ray and blood tests are enough to make a diagnosis, and a bone biopsy isn’t necessary.

This condition will be rated on limitation of motion of affected body part.

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