Scurvy revealed by difficulty walking: Three cases in young children

Maleewan Kitcharoensakkul, Christa G. Schulz, Rachel Kassel, Geetika Khanna, Shannon Liang, Alexander Ngwube, Kevin W. Baszis, David A. Hunstad, Andrew J. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Scurvy is rare in developed countries but is known to cause lower-extremity pain and refusal to ambulate in children. Since the discovery of the link between scurvy and dietary deficiency of ascorbic acid, there has been a substantial decrease in its prevalence and recognition. Here we describe 3 cases of scurvy in young children presenting with difficulty walking. Only 1 of 3 patients had gingival lesions at the initial presentation. Two cases underwent an extensive evaluation for hematologic and rheumatologic diseases before the diagnosis of scurvy was made. Dietary histories eventually revealed that all 3 patients had sharply limited intake of fruits and vegetables secondary to oral aversion, and 1 patient had autism. Radiographic changes of long bones were observed in all patients. Interestingly, all patients had concomitant vitamin D deficiency. After replacement with vitamin C, all patients recovered and started to walk again with improved leg pain. These clinical manifestations and radiologic findings highlight the importance for rheumatologists to have a higher index of suspicion for scurvy in nonambulatory children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-228
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • oral aversion
  • osteomyelitis
  • scurvy


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