The bones of a child with rickets are too soft and bend under the pressure of body weight. Proper diet and adequate sunlight provide the vitamin D necessary to build strong bones. Dr. Martha May Eliot’s work provided insight on how to treat this disease.
Children's bones contain growth plates--areas of soft cartilage that lengthen before being replaced by hard bone. With rickets, the bone's growth plate widens as soft cartilage cells accumulate.