Restricted Growth : What Are The Symptoms And Treatment ?


Dwarfism is a short stature brought on by a genetic or medical condition. Having an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches (147 cm) or less is frequently referred to as dwarfism. As adults, people with dwarfism frequently measure 4 feet tall (122 cm).

Dwarfism can result from a number of different illnesses. The diseases can be broadly categorized into two categories:

Dwarfism is out of proportion. Certain body portions are tiny while others are average or larger than normal if the body size is asymmetric. Disproportionate dwarfism-causing diseases prevent bone growth.

Proportionate dwarfism. When all of the body's components are proportionally tiny and appear to be proportioned to a body of ordinary height, the body is said to be proportionately little.

Instead of "dwarf" or "dwarfism," some individuals prefer the terms "low stature" or "small people." Thus it is necessary to be attentive to the desire of someone who has this illness. Familial low stature, which is regarded as a normal variation with normal bone growth, is excluded from the category of short stature diseases.


The majority of illnesses connected to dwarfism are inherited, while other ailments have unidentified origins. Instead of being caused by either parent's whole genetic composition, the majority of cases of dwarfism are caused by a random genetic mutation in either the father's sperm or the mother's egg.


Achondroplasia affects around 80% of newborns whose parents are of average height. One mutant copy of the gene linked to the condition and one normal copy of the gene was given to an individual with achondroplasia who had two average-sized parents. A person with the condition may pass on either a mutant or normal copy to his or her own offspring.

Turner syndrome

Only girls and women are affected by Turner syndrome, which is caused by a missing X chromosome. Each parent gives a daughter an X chromosome. Instead of two completely functional copies of the female sex chromosome, a girl with Turner syndrome only has one.

A lack of growth hormone

Growth hormone insufficiency can occasionally be linked to a genetic mutation or injury, but for the majority of those affected, there is no known reason.

Other factors

Various genetic conditions, hormone deficiency, or inadequate nutrition are further causes of dwarfism. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

How to check if you have Restricted Growth?

Disproportionate dwarfism frequently exhibits signs and symptoms at birth or in the first few months of life. It could take some time to notice proportionate dwarfism. If you have any worries regarding your child's growth or general development, consult a doctor.


Other than small height, the signs and symptoms of the range of illnesses differ greatly.

Disproportionate dwarfism

The majority of persons with dwarfism suffer from diseases that result in abnormally small heights. Typically, this denotes that a person has an average-sized trunk and short limbs, while some individuals may have an extremely short torso and small (but proportionally huge) limbs. With these illnesses, the head is excessively big compared to the body.

Virtually all individuals with disproportionate dwarfism have average mental abilities. Unusual outliers frequently have a secondary cause, such as too much fluid surrounding the brain (hydrocephalus).

The most frequent cause of dwarfism is achondroplasia, a condition that results in abnormally small heights. The typical outcomes of this syndrome are as follows:

  • A typical boot size
  • Short arms and short upper arms and upper legs in particular
  • The space between the middle and ring fingers is frequently broad on short fingers.
  • Limited elbow range of motion
  • A head that is unusually large, with a high forehead and a flattened nose bridge
  • Legs that are bent over time
  • Lower back swaying over time
  • Most adults are 4 feet tall (122 cm)

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital, an uncommon condition, is another factor that contributes to disproportionate dwarfism (SEDC). Signs could be:

  • An extremely little boot
  • A short neck
  • Shortened arms and legs
  • Hands and feet of average size
  • Broad, rounded chest
  • Cheekbones that are somewhat flattened
  • Opening in the mouth's roof (cleft palate)
  • Thighbones that bend inward as a result of hip abnormalities
  • A foot that is crooked or misshapen
  • Instability of the neck bones
  • Upper spine's progressive hunching curve
  • Lower back swaying over time
  • Hearing and vision issues
  • Joint mobility issues with arthritis
  • People frequently measure between 3 feet (91 cm) and just over 4 feet tall (122 cm)

Proportionate dwarfism

Proportionate dwarfism is caused by medical disorders that restrict general growth and development and are present at birth or first manifest in early infancy. The head, boot, and limbs are all little, but they are all in proportion to one another. Several of these illnesses cause one or more bodily systems to develop improperly because they impair overall growth.

Proportionate dwarfism is frequently caused by growth hormone insufficiency. 

Symptoms include:

  • The height that is less than the average for children that age
  • Slower growth than anticipated for age
  • Teenage sexual development that is delayed or nonexistent


Maximizing functionality and independence is the aim of therapy. The majority of dwarfism therapies do not improve height, although they may repair or reduce complications-related issues.

Surgical procedures

Individuals with disproportionate dwarfism may benefit from the following surgical treatments to address their issues:

  • Reversing the direction of bone resorption
  • Preserving and enhancing the spine's natural form
  • Raising the vertebral opening size to relieve strain on the spinal cord
  • If hydrocephalus (excess fluid surrounding the brain) arises, placing a shunt to drain it

Hormone replacement treatment

Treatment with injections of a synthetic version of the hormone may raise the ultimate height in those with dwarfism brought on by a lack of growth hormone. Children often receive regular shots for several years until they attain their full adult height, which is frequently within the family's typical adult height range.

To guarantee adult maturities, such as the right amount of muscle or fat accumulation, treatment may be continued throughout the adolescent years and the early years of adulthood. Some people can require counselling for the rest of their lives. Other related hormones may be added to the therapy if they are also lacking.

In order for girls with Turner syndrome to start puberty and mature into adult women, the treatment also includes oestrogen and associated hormone therapy. Until women with Turner syndrome reach the typical menopause age, oestrogen replacement medication is often continued throughout their lives.

Growth hormone treatment for achondroplasia children does not raise the ultimate adult height.

Ongoing medical treatment

Regular examinations and continuing treatment by a doctor experienced in

the effects of dwarfism might be positive. Due to the variety of symptoms and repercussions, therapies are individualised to deal with issues as they arise, such as diagnosing and treating ear infections, spinal stenosis, or sleep apnea.

Problems that develop in adults with dwarfism should be monitored and treated as needed.

Limb lengthening

Extended limb lengthening surgery is an option for certain dwarfs. Because there are hazards involved, this operation is contentious for many persons with dwarfism. Due to the mental and physical strain associated with many treatments, it is advised to delay making a decision about limb lengthening until the dwarf is mature enough to do it.

Complications of Restricted Growth

Although dwarfism-related illnesses can have a wide range of problems, some of them are similar to many different ailments.

Disproportionate dwarfism

Due to the similar characteristics of the skull, spine, and limbs among most kinds of disproportionate dwarfism, the following issues frequently arise:

  • Delays in the acquisition of motor abilities such as standing up, crawling, and walking
  • Hearing loss is more likely if you have frequent ear infections.
  • Legs bending inward
  • Breathing issues when sleeping (sleep apnea)
  • At the base of the skull, there is pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Fluid accumulation surrounding the brain (hydrocephalus)
  • Crowded teeth
  • Progressive, severe back hunching or swaying accompanied by back discomfort or respiratory issues
  • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower spine that puts pressure on the spinal cord and causes pain or numbness as a result.
  • Arthritis
  • Weight increase that puts strain on nerves and aggravates joint and spinal disorders

Proportionate dwarfism

Problems with growth and development sometimes lead to difficulties with underdeveloped organs in proportional dwarfism. For instance, the frequent cardiac issues associated with Turner syndrome can have a serious impact on health. Physical and social development are impacted by a lack of sexual maturation brought on by growth hormone deficit or Turner syndrome.


Pregnant women with disproportionate dwarfism may experience respiratory issues. Because of the size and form of the pelvis, vaginal birth is nearly never effective, necessitating a C-section (caesarean delivery).

Perceptions of the general public

The majority of dwarfs prefer not to have their condition called out. Nonetheless, some of those who are low in stature may refer to themselves as dwarfs, little people, or short people. The term "midget" is sometimes seen as derogatory.

People of ordinary height may have preconceptions about those with dwarfism. Stereotypes are frequently used in the representation of persons with dwarfism in contemporary films. A person's self-esteem may be impacted by misconceptions, which may also reduce their chances of succeeding in school or at work.

Children who have dwarfism are more likely to experience bullying from their peers. Children who have dwarfism may feel different from their peers since it is not very prevalent.

People may refer to themselves as dwarfs, small people, or persons with low stature. The term "midget" is typically seen as derogatory.

Individuals of ordinary height may have preconceptions about persons who are dwarfed. Also, stereotypes are frequently used when presenting persons with dwarfism in contemporary films. Misperceptions can lower a person's self-esteem and reduce their chances of succeeding in school or at work.

Children who have dwarfism are more likely to be teased and made fun of by their peers. Children may feel different from their peers because of the relative rarity of dwarfism.

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Page last reviewed: Apr 7, 2023

Next review due: Apr 7, 2025

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