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Achondroplasia is a genetic condition. It is caused by a fault in a particular gene called FGFR3. Genes are responsible for individual characteristics such as eye and hair colour. People who have Achondroplasia are shorter than average, have shorter arms and legs and their heads may be bigger than average.

What is it like for siblings if their brother or sister has Achondroplasia?

Lots of siblings have really good relationships with their brothers and sisters who have Achondroplasia. Other siblings can find it difficult because their brothers or sisters need some extra care and attention which can make them feel left out. They can feel embarrassed if people stare at their brothers and sisters when they are out and about. This is because people with Achondroplasia may look different to other children.

What causes Achondroplasia?

Achondroplasia is a genetic condition.  Achondroplasia happens when one copy of a particular gene (called FGFR3) does not work normally.  This gene is important in how our bones grow.  Achondroplasia most often happens ‘out of the blue’ in a baby whose parents are of average height.  It can’t be caught like a cold.

What does this mean?

People with achondroplasia are often shorter than other people. Some children might be a little slower to learn how to sit, crawl, walk or other physical things and might get glue ear when they are young. Glue ear is where the middle part of the ear canal fills up with fluid. This can cause hearing loss for a short time but it usually clears up very quickly.

What treatment is there?

Achondroplasia is a lifelong condition. It is not an illness or a disease and does not need treatment. Generally, individuals with Achondroplasia can live healthy and fulfilling lives as part of their families and communities.

Children born with Achondroplasia have similar health conditions as for all children. Regular health checks can make sure any health conditions are picked up early and treated. Achondroplasia is not a life-limiting condition. People with the condition can lead active and healthy lives into their 60s, 70’s and older.

This information has been approved by the Restricted Growth Association November 2023