Tumour-induced osteomalacia: a rare cause of chronic pain and weakness

Tumor-induced osteomalacia is a rare and often misdiagnosed condition that presents with progressively worsening unexplained chronic pain and proximal muscle weakness. The osteomalacia leads to multiple stress fractures which do not heal properly, leading to progressive disability. It is caused by chronic hypophosphatemia due to inappropriate urinary phosphate wasting. This is due to a typically benign mesenchymal tumor that over-secretes a phospaturic hormone. Neurologists need to appreciate the relevance of chronic hypophosphatemia in people with chronic unexplained pain, as timely diagnosis and treatment of tumour-induced osteomalacia can be curative.

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