The aim of this study was to report the patterns of symptoms and insufficiency fractures in patients with tumour-induced osteomalacia (TIO) to allow the early diagnosis of this rare condition. The study included 33 patients with TIO who were treated between January 2000 and June 2022. The causative tumour was detected in all patients. We investigated the symptoms and evaluated the radiological patterns of insufficiency fractures of the rib, spine, and limbs. The mean age of the patients was 57 years (24 to 87), and the mean duration of pain from onset to time of presentation was 3.9 years (0.75 to 23). The primary symptoms were low back pain (ten patients), chest wall pain (eight patients), and hip pain (eight patients). There were symptoms at more sites at the time of presentation compared with that at the time of the onset of symptoms. Bone scans showed the uptake of tracer in the rib (100%), thoracic and lumbar vertebrae (83%), proximal femur (62%), distal femur (66%), and proximal tibia (72%). Plain radiographs or MRI scans identified femoral neck fractures in 14 patients, subchondral insufficiency fractures of the femoral head and knee in ten and six patients, respectively, distal femoral fractures in nine patients, and proximal tibial fractures in 12 patients. Thoracic or lumbar vertebral fractures were identified in 23 of 29 patients (79.3%) when using any imaging study, and a biconcave deformity was the most common type of fracture. Insufficiency fractures in patients with TIO caused spinal pain, chest wall pain, and periarticular pain in the lower limbs. Vertebral fractures tended to be biconcave deformities, and periarticular fractures of the hips and knees included subchondral insufficiency fractures and epiphyseal or metaphyseal fractures. In patients with a tumour, the presence of one or more of these symptoms and an insufficiency fracture should suggest the diagnosis of TIO.
© 2023 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery.