Primary growth disorders

A primary growth failure occurs when there is an issue with the genes involved in the growth. This means that the 'recipes' contained in the genes to make the tissues or hormones are not quite right, and so the growth process does not quite work as it should do. You might also hear this described as a 'congenital' problem. (See our ‘About growth’ page to find out more about how growth works).

Examples include: 

  • Growth plate cartilage cells not dividing properly, so the bones are shorter.
  • Growth plates closing too quickly, resulting in shorter growth.


People with a primary growth disorder may have one or more of these symptoms: 

  • Short height.
  • Short arms and legs.
  • Different shaped skull.
  • Small (short height and low weight, or both) at birth.

Examples of primary growth disorders include:

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