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Scurvy Revealed by Difficulty Walking: Three Cases in Young Children

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

JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: June 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 224–228
doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000000101
Case Reports

Abstract: 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.

From the Departments of *Pediatrics and †Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.

No external funding was secured for this report.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Andrew J. White, MD, MSc, 660 S. Euclid Ave, Campus Box 8116, St Louis, MO 63110. E-mail: white@kids.wustl.edu.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.