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Osteomalacia vs Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Bone health is essential for living an active and independent lifestyle. However, two common conditions known as osteomalacia and osteoporosis can significantly weaken the bones, increasing the risk of fractures. While they may seem similar, finding the correct diagnosis is crucial to develop an effective treatment plan. Learn the differences so you can take proactive steps toward improving your bone health. 

Osteomalacia vs Osteoporosis 

Most people have heard of the bone condition osteoporosis, which is a disease that thins and weakens the bones. Osteomalacia is a lesser known but similar condition which causes the bones to soften. 

At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center, our rheumatologists provide comprehensive osteomalacia and osteoporosis care in Orange Park, Jacksonville, FL. We believe awareness is key to prevent both of these bone diseases. 


Osteomalacia occurs when the bones soften due to a vitamin D deficiency or problems with its metabolism. Vitamin D plays an important role in the body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphate. These are both essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. 

When the body lacks enough vitamin D, the bones become soft, weak, and more prone to fractures. 

Symptoms of Osteomalacia

Patients are much more likely to notice symptoms if they have osteomalacia vs osteoporosis. Common symptoms of osteomalacia include: 

  • Aching pain in the bones, especially the hips.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Bone deformities, such as bowed legs or spine curvature.


Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by decreased bone density. It occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, or when old bone is reabsorbed faster than new bone formation. As a result, the bones become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Unlike osteomalacia, most patients with osteoporosis don’t experience any symptoms. It is known as a “silent” disease, which is why prevention and screening are so important. That said, there are some symptoms of osteoporosis patients may notice, including: 

  • Loss of height as the spine compresses.
  • Changes in posture.
  • Fractures in the spine, hips, and wrists as the bones become more fragile.

Early Warning Signs of Osteoporosis & Osteomalacia 

Early detection of osteoporosis and osteomalacia is crucial for effective management and prevention of complications. Don’t ignore the early warning signs – recognize the symptoms of osteoporosis and osteomalacia and take charge of your bone health today.

Some common early warning signs of these conditions include:

Recurring Fractures

Fractures that occur with minimal trauma or low impact can be a sign of weakened bones.

Recurring Back Pain

Chronic or recurring back pain or aches, especially in the mid back, can be a warning sign of osteoporosis. Compression fractures of the spine, which are common in osteoporosis, can cause pain that worsens with movement or pressure on the spine.

Chronic Pain

Persistent bone or muscle pain that does not go away with rest or over-the-counter pain medications.

Loss of Height

A gradual loss of height may be an early sign of osteoporosis or osteomalacia. As the bones weaken and fracture, it can cause a decrease in height over time. If you notice that you are getting shorter or your clothes fit differently, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. 

Muscle Weakness

Weakness and reduced muscle strength can be a sign of bone mineral loss.


Recurring tiredness and lack of energy is another common warning sign of poor bone health.

Rounded Shoulders or Stooped Posture

Weak bones can affect the spine’s shape, leading to rounded shoulders or a stooped posture. This can occur due to compression fractures in the vertebrae, which cause the spine to collapse and alter its normal alignment.

Treatments for Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia

Treating osteoporosis and osteomalacia involves a comprehensive approach. All treatments are aimed at reducing the risk of fractures, promoting bone strength, and managing underlying conditions. 

Lifestyle Changes

Preventing and treating bone conditions means taking good care of your bone health. Incorporate a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular weight-bearing exercises, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These are all great ways to keep your bones healthy and strong.


Various medications may be prescribed by a rheumatologist to slow down bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce fracture risk.

Subcutaneous Injections and IV Infusion Therapy

In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend infusion therapy to improve bone density and reduce fracture risk. Subconscious injections or infusion therapy can be given monthly or every 6 months in physicians’ clinics. There are also two bone-forming agents available to take daily as a subcutaneous injection. One is taken for two years and the other for 18 months.

At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center, our rheumatology doctors will customize the frequency and duration of the treatments based on your individual condition. We’ll also discuss the risks and benefits of the treatment to determine whether infusion is right for you.

Schedule an Appointment at Our Orange Park Office in Jacksonville, Florida

Understanding the difference between osteomalacia and osteoporosis is the first step toward personalized treatment and regaining your bone strength. If you are concerned about your bone health, speak with your arthritis doctor in Jacksonville, FL. Schedule an appointment at our Orange Park arthritis treatment center for personalized care to keep your bones healthy and pain-free.