Rickets in childhood

Learn more about this key feature of XLH.

Rickets is a childhood disease that causes softening of growing bones due to low levels of phosphate or vitamin D in the body. Phosphate is an important mineral that allows for healthy bone growth, and vitamin D helps to manage phosphate levels in the body.


There are two different types of rickets that can present in children, calcipenic or phosphopenic rickets. Calcipenic rickets occurs when the body doesn’t have enough calcium to help the bones grow strong. Phosphopenic rickets is characterized by low levels of phosphorus in the blood.


Rickets can present when the child is old enough to bear weight on their legs, causing the legs to bow in or out. An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces an image of the bones to help diagnosis diseases such as rickets. This test takes only a few minutes and can be done in a doctor’s office if an X-ray machine is available.


Vitamin D rickets, or vitamin D-resistant rickets, is characterized by low vitamin D in the body due to decreased amounts of phosphate. Phosphate and vitamin D work together inside the body to help regulate many biological functions, such as bone growth. This condition can also be known as XLH, and early recognition can help prevent disease progression.

Learn more about symptoms of XLH in children

See the signs and symptoms