Osteomalacia refers to a marked softening of your bones, most often caused by severe vitamin D deficiency. The softened bones of children and young adults with osteomalacia can lead to bowing during growth, especially in weight-bearing bones of the legs. Osteomalacia in older adults can lead to fractures.
Osteomalacia differs from the more-common condition of having a low vitamin D level. Osteomalacia also differs from osteoporosis, which causes bone thinning.
Treatment for osteomalacia involves providing enough vitamin D and calcium, both required to harden and strengthen (mineralize) bones, and treating underlying disorders that might cause the condition.