Growth Plates in Bones and Height Increase

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Ever wondered exactly what growth plates are, and how they can affect your growth? Understanding how they work is vital if you want to know how, but more importantly IF your body is capable of growing any taller than you already are.

What are growth plates?

The medical name is 'Epiphyseal Plates' but are more commonly known as growth plates. They exist within the long bones of the body, by that I mean bones that are generally longer than they are wide, such as the femur (upper leg), humerus (upper arms) and fibula (lower leg). These are the bones that are responsible for determining your height. Every animal has these plates within their long bones, without them they simply wouldn't grow. During your life, the way they function changes substantially and for that reason we eventually stop growing.

Growth plates exist at the ends of these bones as shown in the above image.

Growth plates tallerGrowth plates function in height increase

As they are perfectly situated on the ends of your bone, they have the ability to lengthen the bone by creating new cartilage within the bone itself. This cartilage eventually transforms into bone. Throughout your adolesence, this process continues, constantly causing you to grow taller as your bones elongate.

See the image to the right, the new cartilage grows to the top of the growth plate and gradually turns into bone, as it does it gets pushed down below the growth plate allowing the bone to continue growing.

Obviously the longer these bones are, the taller you will be, in particular the leg bones (femur, tibia and fibula) as these make up as least half of your height.

What age do growth plates fuse?

Growth plates don't stay open all your life. They usually close (also known as fuse) in your teenage years, however it's different in males than females. The fusing process in males is usually complete within the ages of 16-18 in males, but 13-14 in females. 

How can I get the most out of growth plates to grow taller?

One the plates have fused, the chances of obtaining any more permanent height increase is zero. So if you still feel that you have some growth within you (ie your plates are not yet fused) and you want to grow taller, follow all the tips on how to grow taller.

 

How do I know if my growth plates have fused?

The only way to know is to have an xray of your bones. Usually the wrist is the most common area of the body that is scanned as it clearly shows whether or not a persons growth plates have fused. Checkout the image below and notice the open epiphysis on the left. Later one (shown on the right) it's clearly merged with the radius and ulna bones of the forearm.

Fused Growth Plates

There's no complex science behind this. Even a layman looking at an x-ray would be able to make an analysis so long as they had an x-ray in front of them.

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Comments

Keith's picture
Wish I had done more when mine were not fused. A proper diet, exercises, stretching, sleep etc. Too late for me now.
Alan's picture
Very useful, i'm 15 so I still have some years to get the most out of my open growth plates.
Faizan Khan's picture
I am 16. My height is 5'2" and has now stopped. I am really worried about it.
Anonymous's picture
I'm 16 and I'm 5'8 and wanna grow more but worried I won't make 6'0 my dad is 6'4 and my mom is 5'1 so yea
matt's picture
I'm 21 6'7 and still growing slowly. 1/4 this year pretty sure i am finished
notfair's picture
Sigh I'm 16 and 5'9 but I think that's about it for me. I have a tall family for an Asian. Don't I have the genes to grow taller?
riyan's picture
i am 15 but ihave grown hair in my chin above lips and public hair,and my height is only 5foot and 3.5 inches. So can i increase height now??????

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