This Spirited Toddler Has Rare Brittle Bone Disease

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 10, 2018
2 min read

Three-year-old Byron Baxter has bones that break easily, sometimes with just a wave of his hand, his parents say. But he’s inspiring social media fans with his fighting spirit and cheerfulness in videos and pics his family posts online.

Byron’s had close to 100 fractures in his short life, his parents write on Instagram. He started getting them even before he was born while he was in the womb, they write.

That’s because Byron is living with a brittle bone disease, a rare genetic condition with no cure. Doctors call it osteogenesis imperfecta, which means “imperfectly formed bone.”

“We might bump ourselves on something and not think twice about it, but it could lead to a fracture” for some people with the disease, says WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael Smith, MD.

There are four types of the condition, each with symptoms that can range from mild to severe, Smith says. Along with weaker bones, some common signs are breathing troubles, hearing loss, short height, and a triangular-shaped face.

Medication and low-impact exercise help many people with the disease get fewer fractures. But doctors sometimes recommend surgery for severe symptoms, like a bone that keeps breaking or a spine that curves sideways.

Byron had his first IV infusion of drugs called bisphosphonates. They’re the same meds people with osteoporosis take to help build their bone strength, Smith says.

The little boy’s parents had great news to report afterward, calling the treatment a “success.”

“This Bone Infusion will be the first step to a better life,” they write.