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Restricted growth is when someone has a medical condition that stops them from growing taller than about 147 cm or four feet and ten inches. Restricted growth might also be called dwarfism or short stature.


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

Lots of siblings get on really well with their brothers and sisters who have restricted growth. They have fun together just the same as other brothers and sisters do. However, some siblings find it tough when people stare or make comments about their brothers and sisters. Some families hand out cards that explain restricted growth to people who stare or make comments.

What causes restricted growth?

People are born with restricted growth; you cannot catch it like a cold.  No one knows why some people have restricted growth and it is no one’s fault.

What does it mean?

People with restricted growth are all affected in different ways. Some people with restricted growth are smaller all over. Some people with restricted growth have a problem with the way their joints and bones grow so just their legs or arms may be shorter. Some people with restricted growth have a genetic condition. There are lots of genetic conditions that cause restricted growth. Many people with restricted growth have a genetic condition called Achondroplasia. People with Achondroplasia have an average sized body and short arms and legs and a slightly larger head. Some people with restricted growth have difficulties with their back or neck. Some people with restricted growth have difficulty with sleeping. Some people with restricted growth have arthritis in their joints. Some people with restricted growth have lots of ear infections.

What treatment is there?

There is no cure for restricted growth but people can be helped in lots of ways. These are some of the things that help people with restricted growth to lead the same lives as everyone else:

  • Special equipment to help them reach things such as step stools and grabbers, or specialist chairs with foot and back support
  • Kitchen worktops, tables and chairs made lower so that they can reach them properly
  • Operations to their back, neck, leg or foot to help them move better
  • A wheelchair, crutches, scooter or mobility scooter to help them get about
  • Operations to their ear to help them hear better or hearing aids
  • Medicine to help if they have pain
  • Exercises to keep their bodies fit

People with restricted growth go to school, have hobbies, do sports, work, have families of their own and live a full life.

Information approved by the Restricted Growth Association March 2024