1. Your cycle
  2. Puberty
  3. Teenage life

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

How to Get Taller: Are There Real Ways to Increase Your Height?

As a child and during puberty, it’s common to be curious about what your adult height will be and how to grow taller.

 

Throughout history (and even now), physicians, companies, and inventors have offered treatments that were supposedly able to increase a person’s height. So are there any methods that can actually help you increase your height? Read this article to find out.

How to grow taller

There are many factors that determine adult height. Many people believe that human height is determined only by genetics, but that’s not entirely true. Genetics are the main factor that determines how tall someone will be once they’re done growing, but there are others.

Environmental and lifestyle factors also come into play during childhood and adolescence. Nutrition, for example, plays a big role in determining height. In fact, scientists have theorized that improved nutrition may be the main reason why the average human height has significantly increased over the last century. That’s why it’s so important to make sure children are well fed, from the time they’re breastfeeding until they’re fully grown.

Take a quiz
Find out what you can do with our Health Assistant

Once someone is approximately 18 to 20 years old, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to grow taller naturally. By that age, the growth plates in the bones — areas of cartilage where bones are able to grow longer — have become solid. 

The growth plates are active during childhood, but once puberty starts, hormonal changes cause these areas to harden. In the female body, they usually finish developing completely around age 16 and sometime between ages 14 and 19 for the male body. That means you can’t really make yourself taller once you’ve reached adulthood.

It’s still possible to experience small daily variations in height. These variations are the result of the spinal discs becoming compressed during daily activities. As a result, it’s possible to lose up to half an inch (1.5 centimeters) of height during the day, which will be restored while you sleep. This variation is so small that it’s hardly ever noticeable.

There are many sources that claim to have figured out how you can grow taller fast. Some say that stretching and performing certain exercises are the keys to getting taller. Others post climbing and hanging exercises that are supposed to make you taller or advise swimming or using an inversion table for the same purpose.

However, no scientific evidence exists to support these methods. At most, some of these activities could cause the intervertebral discs to decompress, temporarily restoring natural height a tiny bit. This, coupled with stretching the muscles during these exercises, could make someone believe that they’re really getting taller. But the truth is that there’s no magic way to get taller fast.

Medical procedures for growth stimulation

A surgical procedure called distraction osteogenesis can make people grow taller even during adulthood. This procedure was originally intended to treat dwarfism or uneven legs. 

During the procedure, health care providers surgically break the bones in the person’s legs. Afterwards, the ends of the broken bones are separated. This is achieved through the use of a device called an Ilizarov apparatus, which stabilizes the leg. Each day, the apparatus is opened so that the separation between the bones grows by approximately one millimeter. 

As the device maintains the separation, a callus forms between the two parts of the bone. This callus is then replaced by collagen and, eventually, by bone tissue. The process requires at least a month of treatment for each centimeter of growth, and it usually only results in a couple of inches in increased height.

This procedure is traumatic and painful; once the bones have healed, the person essentially has to learn how to walk again. This surgery also carries a high risk of complications including infections, leg axis deviation, joint disease, and psychological problems.

Does sleeping help you grow?

It is widely believed that children need lots of sleep to reach their full height. Sleep apnea has been found to have a negative effect on children’s growth and development. So if you want to grow to your full potential, it’s probably a good idea to get plenty of sleep every night.

The bottom line is that there’s not much you can do to increase your height once you’ve reached adulthood. However, if you’d like to appear a little taller, consider the following tips:

  • Wear comfortable heels or inserts inside your shoes.
  • Improve your posture. Having great posture can make you look taller and feel more confident.
  • Try styling tricks. Wearing prints like vertical stripes or creating long lines with your clothes can make you look more elongated.
  • Some exercises, such as yoga or pilates, can strengthen your core and improve your posture.

If you’re a parent and you’d like to make sure that your kids reach their full growth potential, there are some things you can do. Ensuring proper nutrition is the most important step. From the moment your child is born, you can improve their nutritional intake by making sure they get enough nutrition. Breastfeeding is a great way to do that. That’s why learning tips such as recognizing when your breast milk comes in and how to store milk for future feedings can optimize their nutrition from a young age. 

Once they’re older, maintaining a balanced diet and making sure they practice age-appropriate exercise will help ensure that they reach their physical potential. Make sure that your kids get enough sleep so that their bodies get enough rest and they keep their energy up.

At the end of the day, height is only a single physical feature out of the many characteristics that make up a person’s appearance. Even though some people would love to know how to get taller, beauty can be found at any height.

Zeng, Yong, et al. “Study on the Height and Weight in Children with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome.” Lin Chuang Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi = Journal of Clinical Otorhinolaryngology, Head, and Neck Surgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23631138.

Crowder, C, and D Austin. “Age Ranges of Epiphyseal Fusion in the Distal Tibia and Fibula of Contemporary Males and Females.” Journal of Forensic Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16225203/.

Shim, Kye Shik. “Pubertal Growth and Epiphyseal Fusion.” Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, The Korean Society of Pediatric Endocrinology, Mar. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397276/.

Malko, J. A., et al. “An in Vivo MRI Study of the Changes in Volume (and Fluid Content) of the Lumbar Intervertebral Disc after Overnight Bed Rest and during an 8-Hour Walking Protocol.” Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2002, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11927827/.

Chan, Samantha C W, et al. “The Effects of Dynamic Loading on the Intervertebral Disc.” European Spine Journal : Official Publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society, Springer-Verlag, Nov. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3207351/.

Belavý, D L, et al. “Can Exercise Positively Influence the Intervertebral Disc?” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26666742/.

“Distraction Osteogenesis.” Distraction Osteogenesis - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/distraction-osteogenesis.

Read this next