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noun, plural: osteomalacias

The softening of bones due to defective bone mineralization.


This condition results from a deficiency in vitamin D or calcium, and mostly occurs in adult women. It is usually accompanied by pain, tenderness, muscular weakness, and anorexia. In children, this condition is known as rickets. Because of this, osteomalacia is often associated with adults.

Word origin: osteo refers to bone, and malacia means softness. Related forms: osteomalacial, osteomalacic (adjective).

Also called: malacosteon (obsolete).
Compare: osteopetrosis.
See also: osteoporosis.