Rickets Symptoms and TreatmentsFitness Gear & Equipment
Rickets occurs worldwide, but it is more common in developing countries. The cause of rickets is a deficiency of vitamin D, made in the skin under the influence of sunlight and essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus. The parathyroid glands step in, excreting parathormone which maintains the blood calcium level at the expense of the skeleton, which becomes weak and deformed.
- Usually occurs in children at around one year
- The child may seem unwell, with swollen wrists and bowed lower legs
- Head may be enlarged
- Chest may be deformed
- Blood tests show raised level of parathormone
A whole food diet would be recommended, along with rest and gentle exercise while the child's metabolic problems were being treated. Deformed bones and joints would require some sort of splint or support bandage, but may also benefit from warm and cold water applications delivering herbal and aromatherapy remedies to alleviate pain. Acupunctures and/or cranial osteopathy might be recommended to help restore balance to the various body systems. Appropriate weight reduction may be encouraged.
Vitamins and Minerals
A whole food diet with low-fat protein and dairy foods to suit the child's tastes would be advised, while raw food and juice fasts would be included to obtain a wide range of essential nutrients in a highly absorbable form. Goat's milk and its products may suit children who are lactose-intolerant (cannot take cow's milk); soya yogurts and cheese also supply calcium.
Specific dietary supplements include all the chief antioxidants, with an individually recommended dose of vitamin D. Evening primrose oil and marine fish oil capsules (or cod liver oil) should be taken daily.
One herbal remedy is treatment with vegetal silica, a very rich source of the trace element silicon, which strengthens bones. Its diuretic effect (it increases the volume of urine passed) would also help to reduce swelling due to injury. Nettle leaf preparations are also rich in silicon, and have both diuretic and anti-inflammatory actions.
Specific remedies for bone pain (as would occur in this complaint) can be taken 4 times daily for up to 3 days: Ruta 6c when bones feel bruised, especially after a knock; Calcarea phos. 6c when limbs ache and feel numb and chilly, and when the child is very tired after climbing stairs; and Fluoric acid 6c to combat swift, stabbing pains.
Gentle exercise through other therapies such as t'ai chi, yoga and dance could be individually tailored to enhance bone strength and healing. Acupuncture might be used to promote healing and relieve discomfort. The Alexander technique would be useful, to ensure healthy posture during and after treatment.
Vitamin D and calcium may be all that is required, although surgery is sometimes necessary to correct significant deformity.
- Protect children from the damaging effects of too much sun but encourage healthy exposure to sunlight.
- Give vitamin and/or mineral supplements to faddy eaters.
- Dark-skinned children are especially at risk of developing rickets.
- Seek medical advice if you suspect any of the symptoms listed.