Nutritional osteomalacia: Substantial clinical improvement and gain in bone density posttherapy

H. Al-Ali, G. El Hajj Fuleihan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A 52-yr-old white female presented with worsening low back and hip pain, associated with lower limb proximal muscle weakness and a waddling gait. Her laboratory evaluation revealed hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, a very low 25- hydroxyvitamin D level of less than 5 ng/ml, and a bone mineral density in the osteoporotic range. Her laboratory studies were consistent with osteomalacia, although this diagnosis was not established by histomorphometry. She avoided dairy products, spent little time outdoors, and when she went out, she covered her face, arms, and legs. She was on no medications. Her workup for malabsorption including sprue was negative. She was treated with calcium plus high-dose vitamin D 600,000 IU intramuscularly twice within 2 mo and had an impressive clinical improvement. Her difficulty with ambulation improved within 1 wk of start of therapy. Her bone mineral density increased by 40% at the spine and 35% at the hip at 4 mo of therapy, by 63% and 39% at 10 mo, and by 62% and 52% at 15 mo at these sites, respectively. Treatment of osteomalacia is extremely rewarding, with dramatic clinical improvement and normalization of bone mineral density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mineral density
  • Bone pain
  • Nutritional osteomalacia
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Weakness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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