When Do Growth Plates Close? Delving Into Development

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 13, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Doctor examines through magnifying.

Growth plates are cartilage regions seen at the ends of our long bones such as the femur and tibia in youngsters.

The growth plate contributes new bone to these bones, allowing them to grow. These areas of the bone are weaker and susceptible to growth plate injuries during a child's development due to their soft structure.

This is a part of the bone that is occasionally softer than the tendons and ligaments that surround it.

As a result, symptoms of fractures and swelling pain near the growth plates can account for up to 30% of all fractures in youngsters.

The growth plate is a hyaline cartilage layer found at each end of a long bone in the metaphysis.

The growth plate is the region of a long bone where new bone growth occurs near the joint; the entire bone is alive when maintenance remodeling happens throughout its current bone tissue, but the growth plate is where the long bone gets bigger and adds length to the bone.

If you injured your growth bone while playing sports or anything like that then treat it immediately.

A growth plate is a region that is in contact at the end of long bones that comprises cells that are dividing and maturing to produce bone also called cartilage cells. When a youngster stops growing, the growth plates firm, or close, and the bone expands and happens in length and width.

These sections are more vulnerable to growth plate injuries until then since they aren't as robust as the rest of the bone.

Growth plates appear as black lines at the ends of the bones on an x-ray done by a professional doctor or surgeon. On an x-ray, the black line will no longer be visible at the conclusion of growth, when the cartilage has completely hardened into bone. Growth plates are regarded as closed at this point.

Only children and teens have the growth plate. Adults who have finished developing have a growth plate line in place of the plate.

growth plate closure or growth plate fusion is the term for this type of replacement. Complete fusion occurs at the joint on average between the ages of 15-20 for girls.

with 15–18 years being the most common age in girls and 17-24 for boys, with ages 18–22 years being the most common age for boys. It is highly unlikely that guys will continue to grow till the age of 25 years.

Growth plate injuries are treated by a pediatrician or an orthopedic specialist. After reading about growth plate injuries, you should also read about when do your feet stop growing and when do women stop growing.

Which growth plates close first?

Estimating growth can be difficult. While it is accurate that once a growth plate fuses, the bone cannot be lengthened, not every growth plate in the body fuse at the same time.

Some bones, such as the tiny bones of the wrist and feet, may fuse, whereas others in the body retain their open growth plate. The growth of the bones in the legs and spine will influence height predominantly during this period.

It's likely that the tiny bones in the wrist have sealed whereas the growth plate in the legs has remained open, allowing for continuous height gains.

Until you examined an x-ray of the legs, you wouldn't know for sure.

The growth plate inside the knees and wrists usually close around the same period. The elbow is usually the first to fuse, followed by the foot and ankle, fingers, hand and wrist, knee, hip and pelvis, and finally the shoulder, forearm, and collarbone.

What causes the growth plate to close?

In growing kids and adolescents, growth plate cartilage or growth plates divide the epiphyses from the diaphysis, wherein bones grow in length. The release of estrogen and testosterone when kids become adolescent causes the growth plate plates to close.

When the bone formation is finished, the growth plate cartilage is substituted by bone, which connects it to the diaphysis. In youngsters, growth plate fractures can cause sluggish bone growth or limb shortening and need to be taken to the hospital.

Bone can develop, mend itself, and alter shape due to the coordinated action of these bone cells. Even adult bone is constantly changing, with new cells forming and old cells eventually dying.

The mechanism of bone resorption is referred to as remodeling.

Early growth halting could be caused by underlying clinical disorders like early puberty, growth hormone deficit, cortisol overload or hereditary characteristics. Coming in contact with too much weight training may promote premature fusion of bone epiphysis in some instances, resulting in damage and termination of growth.

Can you grow after your growth plate closes?

No, an adult can never grow taller after the growth plate seal. Nevertheless, there are numerous strategies to improve one's stance in order to appear taller. Although adults cannot do much to improve their growth, they can take precautions to prevent age-related height decline.

After the age of 40, a person may lose up to half an inch of height per decade due to osteoporosis, spinal constriction, and other factors. This can result in a substantial height decrease over years.

When the ends of the bones ossify or harden, the growth plate "close," and the bones can no longer keep growing. This refers to the long bones in the lower leg: the femur, tibia, and fibula. When your bones cease developing, you stop growing as well.

At what age do growth plates fuse?

One way bones grow is through a growth plate. Each long bone typically has two growth plates. They give the bone more length and breadth.

The growth plate forms into solid bone as children grow. A closed growth plate is one that has entirely solidified into solid bone.

The bones stop growing as the growth plate closes. The majority of growth plates can be found near the ends of long bones.

Bones that are longer than they are wide are known as long bones. The femur is also known as the thigh bone and the lower legs also known as the tibia and the fibula are among them.

The palm of the hand is known as the radius and ulna and hand and foot bones are a type of bone that can be found in both adults and children.

Near the end of puberty, the growth plate would be normal when it closes. This normally occurs when girls are 13–15 years old, and when boys are 15–17 years old.

Why are growth plate injuries of special concern?

A single traumatic incident or injury, such as a fall, tumble or impact, or overuse and exerting pressure, or repetitive use, such as in activities like gymnastics, athletic sports, or basketball training, can cause growth plate to show symptoms of fracture like a broken bone and swelling pain and should be taken to the hospital.

It is easy to get injured while playing. Growth plate injuries, on the other hand, are most typically encountered during some form of activity that puts too much pressure, such as risk at sports or a fall at a trampoline park.

It is best to be treated and put in a cast or splint to prevent any deformity. Medical treatment by a cast or splint not only keeps the injured area in place it also eases the pain and doesn't allow any displaced or crooked deformity.

Having a deformity like a crooked or displaced hand would be very difficult for a child thus a cast or a splint has to be put and the fracture treated in a hospital to heal.

It can pose a high risk if you don’t treat it and leave it like normal. It may also need surgery.

Open growth plates heal faster than other fracture sites because they are constantly creating new cartilage cells. When a whole growth plate is damaged, growth can come to a standstill.

If only a portion of the bone is damaged, it may develop in the wrong direction. This is why early detection and medical treatment to heal by a professional doctor are critical.

How do I know if my growth plates have closed?

The only way you can be sure of your growth plates is by getting an x-ray. You should take medical advice if such a situation occurs. Advice from a doctor or from an orthopedic can help determine if your growth plates are closed or not.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for when do growth plates close then why not take a look at when do men stop growing, or how to whistle.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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