Disabling osteomalacic myopathy as the only presenting feature of coeliac disease

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2002 Nov;14(11):1271-4. doi: 10.1097/00042737-200211000-00018.


A 59-year-old woman presented with a 3-month history of bilateral, proximal lower-limb weakness associated with disabling pain that rendered her wheelchair-bound. There were no gastrointestinal symptoms. Clinical examination showed evidence of bilateral, proximal muscle atrophy and weakness in the lower limbs. Low serum calcium and raised serum alkaline phosphatase, coupled with radiological findings, led to the diagnosis of osteomalacia. Subsequent gastroscopy and duodenal biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of coeliac disease. With adherence to a gluten-free diet, the patient's condition remarkably improved within 3 months and she could walk pain-free using a stick. Osteomalacia and myopathy may rarely be the initial and primary presentations of coeliac disease. There are very few reports of osteomalacia as the only presentation of coeliac disease and no reports that describe such a dramatic recovery 3 months after commencing a gluten-free diet. A review of the literature regarding osteomalacia and myopathy in coeliac disease is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Duodenal Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomalacia / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteomalacia / etiology*
  • Osteomalacia / prevention & control
  • Radionuclide Imaging