Rickets causes a defect in the mineralization of the osteoid extracellular matrix caused by deficient calcium and phosphate, according to Orthobullets. Rickets also causes poor calcification of the cartilage extracellular matrix, impairing the ability to grow long bones.
Rickets is a bone disorder in which bones soften, break easily and become deformed, according to Medical News Today. The disease usually strikes very young children or babies, but in rare cases may affect adults. Rickets is rare in the United States and other developed nations, but it is not uncommon in certain developing countries.
Rickets is most often caused by a vitamin D deficiency, according to WebMD. This can be caused by poor nutrition, lack of exposure to the sun, or certain digestive disorders that impact the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients. Childhood kidney and liver diseases that block the absorption of calcium and phosphorus may cause rickets as well.
Symptoms of rickets include bone pain and bones that break easily, reports Medical News Today. Costochondral swelling is a sign of rickets as well. This manifests in large knobs of bone visible under the skin surrounding the rib cage. Rickets may also cause slow physical growth, bowed legs, knock knees and widening wrists. There may also be deformities of the spine, pelvis or skull.
Rickets gets its name from the Old English word "wrickken," which means to bend or twist, according to Medical News Today. Rickets was common in the United Kingdom and the United States during the 19th century.