I always used to be relatively tall as a kid, but around 15 I topped off at around 5’9″ and basically stayed there for years. Surprisingly, however, I seem to have had something of a second wind in my early twenties, and recently grew a little over an inch, which was strange after being the same height for so long. I wouldn’t exactly call that a “growth spurt,” but when I did some research I found that the symptoms I experienced during that period of surprise height gain matched the symptoms usually associated with said spurts. What are these symptoms, and how can you tell if you’re about to gain a couple inches and finally surpass your friends? Find out below…
1. You Gain Weight
Usually, you’ll find that you’re body sort of preps itself when it senses a height spurt coming on. This mainly means that you’ll gain some weight, varying from a little to a lot depending on how much you’re going to grow. For instance, a 5’5″ kid who’s 120 pounds might gain twenty pounds inexplicably, before shooting up to 5’9″ a month later.
2. You Get Wider
I don’t mean this in terms of gaining weight. I mean that you’re chest will grow broader to compensate for how much height you’re about to gain. This is mainly because your wingspan pretty much exactly matches your height, unless you’re a basketball player (their wingspans far surpass their height). So, the distance between your shoulders should lengthen, as should the length of your arms. When all is said and done, you’re wingspan should be about equal to your height. If it is significantly under, you might have some growing left to do.
3. Your Knees Ache
In some cases, people going through a growth spurt might find themselves afflicted by Osgood-Schlatter disease, which sounds scarier than it actually is. It’s basically a fancy way of saying that your bones are outgrowing your muscles and joints, leading to increased stress and bone on bone friction within the knee and kneecap (growing pains, basically). This can become especially painful if you are active in any way. I learned this the hard way as I am a fairly avid runner. I was forced to take a multi-week break as my knees ached so badly that I had to ice them and take ibuprofen to keep whatever was bothering them in check. From the research I’ve done, your knees usually ache before or early into a growth spurt, so if you’ve been getting knee pain with no reasonable explanation, it may mean you’re about to grow.
4. Your Clothes Don’t Fit You
This one might sound obvious, but it really is the best indicator that you’re going through some kind of growing period. If you put on your favorite jacket or pants and it just feels wrong/too tight or short, and you didn’t really gain any kind of significant weight, you might have grown taller.
5. You Have A Voracious Appetite
People going through periods of significant bodily change, whether it means gaining lots of muscle or height, generally need a metric ton of food to fuel those changes. Don’t be surprised if, when in the heat of a growth spurt, you eat a huge meal and feel entirely unsatisfied half an hour later. This is one of the few times in your life you can eat everything in sight without feeling guilty, so have at it! Just make sure you don’t develop any bad habits that’ll persist once you’re finished growing, because then there will be nowhere for those extra calories to go…
The easiest way to tell if you’re going through a growth spurt is to, of course, measure yourself. If you do decide to keep a monthly or weekly record of your height, either have someone measure you with a measuring tape while standing on a flat surface, or try out this recommended method. Or you can just wait to meet people who haven’t seen you in a while and see if they ask “have you gotten taller?”
Are you going through a growth spurt? Or, like me, did you have a mysterious bump in height in your early 20s? Let me know in the comments below!