Your adolescent has probably heard you talk about growth spurts and it is certainly obvious when it happens, but do they know why they suddenly grow taller?
This anatomy figure explains the basic concept of a growth spurt. The blue lines in the bones are called growth plates. New bone is made in the growth plates. As more bone is made in the growth plates of the legs, the adolescent grows taller. That is also true of their arms, they grow longer. Young teens often seem like they are all arms and legs for a while because of the timing of growth in the arms and legs with growth in the rest of the body.
During a growth spurt, the change happens quickly. It seems like almost over-night, they look taller.
It is important to be gentle with growth plates. If they are seriously injured, they might stop making new bone. Wearing protective gear during sports where these injuries might happen is a very good idea.
It is also interesting to know that girls normally go through a big growth spurt about a year before a boy of the same age. The difference in their height is obvious during that year.
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