Note: This post will be linked to one of the questions asked and answered in the FAQ section. Its intention is to cut down on the number of commonly asked questions that I receive to the website email and streamline the operations of the website/blog.
In the last week there has been a noticeable increase in emails the website email has been getting with a common themed question that runs along this message…
“Hi, I’m ENTER YOUR AGE years old. Am I Still Growing? Can I Still Grow Taller?”
It would be smart if I wrote a post write now to explain in as much detail as I can to finally answer this question in entirety and resolve it for the questioner. If you ask another followup question and explain further on your own unique individual situation, I probably can’t help you. I am NOT a medical professsional, nutritionist, personal trainer, or whatever else can give these types of advice.
I am a height and height increase analyst, researcher, inventor, and maybe also consultant when I finally get the knowledge down, which would take 4-5 years of continued study and research. Guessing is not a scientific way of making predictions and on average, I am wrong more time than I am right. Every time I’ve bet on something, I’m always the one who losses his money.
So this is my answer to this very general question…
Answer: In previous posts I have shown that whether a person is still growing naturally depends on their sex, ethnicity, age, lifestyle, and even mental health. If we hold all the other factors constant and just look at the factor of age as a variable I would say that for 95-99% of all people in a population, the age that they stop growing is 15-17 years old for girls, and 17-19 years old for guys. To arrive at these two age ranges, I take the resource from Duke Health , MedHelp, and United States Tennis Association.
- From Duke Health – “On average, females are done growing around age 12 to 14, and boys around age 14 to 16.“
- From MedHelp – “”
- Femur: The 3 epiphyses/growth plates at upper end fuse at 18 years , The 1 epiphysis/growth plate at lower end fuse at 20 years
- Tibia: Upper end fuses at 16-18 years , Lower end fuses at 15-17 years
- Humerus: Upper end during 20th year , Lower end at about 16 years
- Radius: Upper end during 18th year , Lower end at 20 years
- From USTA – “For example, the growth plates in the elbow area close at approximately ages 12 to 14 in girls, but not until ages 15 to 16 in boys.“
From all these different values, it can be really hard to pinpoint what exactly is the age range. The reason why the Duke Health has the lowest age range is that the doctors are trying to be accurate as possible.
Remember: In general doctors always choose to error on the side of giving below average prognosis and chances. If they say that a patient is healthy and they turn out to be wrong, they can suffer from lawsuits. If instead they give below average prognosis and news, if they make a mistake and the patients do better than their pronosis, they will not be sued. This type of doctor protocol in giving non-positive prognosis is to make themself safe from erroring on the wrong side.
Overall, there are hundreds of Medical websites and resources on the internet and most of them would say it is probably around the 13-15 years range for girls, and 15-17 age range for boys where the growth plates in the long bones close.
Key Point: However, We must also remember that the age of final and complete epiphyseal cartilage ossification in the vertebrate is actually on average 2 years further than in the long bones of the limbs. (I currently can’t find the source for this fact but it is backed up by Scientific Literature).
This means that the usual way of determining whether one’s growth plates are closed from where the endocrinologist or orthopedic doctor looks at just 1 X-ray picture of the left hand is very inaccurate. Currently, there is two main ways to measure for bone maturity through studying growth plates, the Tanner-Whitehouse (TW) and Greulich-Pyle (GP) methods. Overall the Greulich Pyle method which just using an eyeballing guess is not as accurate as the numerical method of Tanner Whitehouse.
At this point, I don’t know which method the doctors looking at your growth plates will use, if they use it at all. I would assume that any good doctor which is willing to take their time with their patient will be more accurate but the busy schedule of doctors might cause them to just eyeball your X-rays and using their years of practice and expertise give a rounding value. I wrote in a previous post entitled “Your Growth Plate X-Rays Don’t Tell The Entire Story, Why Your Doctor Can Be Wrong And You Might Still Be Growing 🙂” which showed that these doctors are often wrong.
So if you are an adolescent or going through puberty, you can still grow if you are AT or BELOW these age ranges.
- Girls: 15-17
- Boys: 17-19
Things to Note: It seems from my personal observation that guys have a bell curve distribution function that has long tails (using statistic jargon here). This means that the age range is less accurate in getting the right numbers for men and many do fall out of the age range. Some men keep growing until 22-23 even. For women, there are instances where pregnancy caused the onset of additional height increase in females, but those cases are outliers.
Advice: You need an X-Ray of your growth plates to be accurate. This x-ray will be analyzed by a specialist, an endocrinologist or orthopedics (still not sure which one yet). This means that FIRST you will need to see your family or personal doctor. After consulting with them, tell them you wanted to know your ability to continue to grow and ask them to write you a recommendation to see a specialist who can read the X-rays. They will provide the recommendation. Once you meet the specialist tell them specifically to get at least 3 rays. This will probably run around the cost of $600-800, $200 for the knee, $190 for the wrist, and $280 for the spine, $370 for the chest, using National X-Ray cost averages (source), not including the cost of seeing the family doctor and the specialist, but if you really are serious about knowing your growth rate and whether you can continue to grow, you will go through with it to be accurate.
- One for the left hand to give them a reference point,
- One for the knee to check the distal femoral physis and the proximal tibial physis.
- One for the cervical region of the vertebrate. This is to look at the growth plates there which will fuse AFTER the growth plates in the long bones are mostly gone.
Sure, there are other growth plates and cartilage in other places which we haven’t considered to give the best answer, but with these three X-rays used as set points, the medical specialists would be able to answer your original question “Am I Still Growing? Can I Still Grow Taller?” far more easily and accurately. I hope this post was good enough to answer your original question. This is the best advice I can give at this point.