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What Is the Treatment for Osteomalacia?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Treatment for osteomalacia consists primarily of replacing missing nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorous. Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers may be used to reduce the amount of discomfort caused by this condition. Proper management of any underlying medical conditions, including kidney or liver dysfunction, is also part of the treatment for osteomalacia. Supportive devices such as braces may help to treat some symptoms. In the most severe cases, treatment for osteomalacia may involve surgical intervention.

As osteomalacia is most often caused by a vitamin D deficiency, supplementation with this vitamin is the primary method of treatment. Most people are able to take oral supplements, although injections of vitamin D may be needed in the more extreme cases. Blood tests may also show deficiencies in other nutrients, especially calcium and phosphorous, requiring further nutritional supplementation. Increased exposure to sunlight is often recommended as a method of treatment for osteomalacia, along with nutritional supplementation.

The use of medications to treat pain may be part of an overall plan of treatment for osteomalacia. Bone and joint pain are common complaints among those with this disorder, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen are often used to lessen the severity of this discomfort. Stronger pain medications may be prescribed by a doctor in more extreme cases.

Osteomalacia is closely related to other medical conditions in many situations, so the proper management of these underlying illnesses is a part of the treatment for osteomalacia. Kidney or liver dysfunction are relatively common and may require a variety of dietary or lifestyle changes. Kidney dialysis or organ transplantation may occasionally become necessary.

Braces and other supportive devices may be helpful additions to a program of treatment for osteomalacia. These devices are typically used for short periods of time in order to avoid atrophy of the surrounding muscles due to a lack of use. A consultation with a physical therapist may be recommended to help devise a healthy exercise regimen designed to improve mobility.

Surgical intervention is sometimes a necessary part of treatment for osteomalacia. This may involve the removal of tumors or the replacement of joints that no longer function properly. Skeletal deformities sometimes develop as a result of this medical condition, and some of these deformities may require surgical correction. The supervising physician can help the patient decide on the most appropriate treatment options for an individual situation.

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