Why haven’t I had a growth spurt?

Last updated on September 8, 2020



I am worried about my height and not growing any taller. I am a male who is 16 years old. I am only 5’2″. My Dad is 5’10” and my mum is 5’3″ and my older brother who is a year older than me is 5’10”. When my brother was my age he was already the height he is now. Plus my Dad had the same growth pattern as my brother. And my grandfather also has the same growth pattern and is 5’9″.

I really don’t understand why I am so short and not growing that fast. I have grown 8 inches in 5 and half years. These 5 years were from year 7 to year 11 in school. Your calculator says I am at stage 2.9. This would mean I am about to hit a big growth spurt, but I just don’t believe it, as I have always been small. I have always been one of the smallest in every single class I have been in at school. I would hate it if I stayed at this height. I am currently growing but not as much as described by Tanner stage 3. I am only growing about 0.1-0.4 cm a month.

I have only just started to get armpit hair. It is nowhere near fully grown, it is only a fine bit of hair at the moment. I have had pubes since I was 13, they are only fair and light black at the moment, they spread around my penis and balls. They have started to grow around my legs. I have only just started to see my Adam’s apple and I have got some longer darker hairs on my legs and arms recently. I have bumfluff facial hair, which I have to shave biweekly. My penis is 3-4 inches soft and 5-6 erect. My testicles are quite small. My hands and feet are small. They seem to be growing slowly. My voice is broke but squeaks at times. I still have some of my baby teeth.

I hope I have described myself enough to you so you can give me definite or close calculation and maybe tell me if I will grow more and if it will increase rapidly. I couldn’t bare staying at this height.


Your growth spurt is defined as being the increase in the rate of growth. Typically it is two to four times the rate of your childhood growth. You have been growing about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) each year. Your current growth rate is about the same, so you have not entered a growth spurt yet.

All the secondary characteristics you describe are of someone one the verge of entering his growth spurt. You are a late bloomer since the average boy hits his growth spurt around the age of 13, but you are not out of the normal range for human growth. That you still have some of your baby teeth also indicates that your body just develops slower than many people.

Keep measuring yourself once a month. Sometime soon you will see that your growth will be over 0.5 cm in one month and then you will know that your growth spurt has started.

You haven’t come close to ending your growth yet. Growth isn’t controlled by age. While your brother is done or close to being done growing, you are still gearing up. Because you are starting later, it means you will be ending later as well.


Thanks so much. This is very informative and exactly what I wanted to hear. I am really pleased. One more question: when do you think I will see a growth spurt, in the next month sort of time frame or the next year sort of time frame?


That type of question can’t be answered. I don’t know of any measurement that can precisely tell when a boy will hit his growth spurt. All we know currently is the rough order of when events occur. My wild guess would be in about six months or so.


OK, thanks. Sorry for keep taking your time, but I have a few more questions: The first is what causes me to be such much later with a growth spurt than my family? I thought it was all based on genes? Secondly, is it definite that I will enter a growth spurt? I was looking online and some people apparently never get one. And finally, because I started later will that make me taller than starting earlier or shorter?

Thanks again.


Growth is a complex interaction of genes and hormones. If we just look at your genes there are multiple genes involved in the growth process and the timing of it. For each controlling gene, you have two of them. Some gene pairs interact with each other giving you a blend, such as skin or hair color. Other genes function more as “yes” or “no” answers to questions and one answer trumps the other. So while you inherit genes similar to your brother, you still only have half a set from your father and a half set from your mother. It is the combination that you gained that makes it possible that you develop much later than your brother.

There is also the remote possibility of disease interfering with growth. As an example, my father was one of the shortest in his class, but in high school, he came down with appendicitis. After the operation, he shot up eight inches in three months. The best everyone can tell is that the appendicitis was interfering with his growth, but it was too mild to notice. Once it was corrected, the potential was made up.

While it might rarely happen that some never get a growth spurt, what is more likely is that many people don’t start paying attention until after their growth spurt. Also, a growth spurt is defined as 2 to 4 times your normal growth rate. So if a person only was growing about an inch a year and then had a spurt of growing 2 inches per year, they might not notice a significant change.

Since you are starting your growth spurt later, you will be starting from a taller base point. Boys who develop late tend to be taller, on average, than boys who develop early. Whether you will be tall also depends on how long your growth plates stay open, which is also hard to predict. In general, late bloomers tend to be slender (less broad shoulders) and tall.

Worrying about whether you will get a growth spurt won’t change matters. Instead, just measure yourself once a month and see what is happening to you.