Although growth patterns can vary somewhat, kids usually follow a general pattern of growth and development through childhood and adolescence. By watching signs and symptoms, you can get an idea of when a boy has stopped growing. If you have concerns about how your son is growing, a physical examination should give answers about full maturity and growth.
Indications of Puberty
A boy’s sexual development – which occurs during puberty – usually happens in conjunction with rapid growth. By watching for signs of puberty and noticing when this development finishes, you can have clues about how much growing time remains. Puberty involves sexual development, growth of pubic, underarm and facial hair, wet dreams, voice change and acne, states the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Growth Connection to Puberty
During mid-puberty, when sexual development is well underway and the boy’s voice is changing, most boys will grow an average of 2.8 to 3.2 inches in a year, according to NHS Choices, an online health resource. This period could last up to two years; after that, the growth rate begins to slow. By the time facial and underarm hair is present, the boy’s voice has changed permanently and sexual development has completed, the rapid growth period is usually over.
Common Age Span
Puberty generally hits boys between ages 10 and 16, according to the KidsHealth website. The most dramatic growth spurt typically occurs between the ages of 12 and 15. It’s common for a boy’s arms, hands, legs and feet to grow faster than other parts of the body. Usually, by age 16, boys have stopped adding height to their stature, but they continue to fill out and add muscle.
Physicians can determine a child’s skeletal maturity with an X-ray of the hand and wrist, according to physician Shari Nethersole, writing for the Family Education website. The X-ray results can show whether growth plates in the hand and wrist have fused, which indicates whether the bones will continue to lengthen. If growth plates appear closed, this could mean that the child has reached his full height. However, growth plates in the legs may still be open, which could lead to more growth in height. Comparing X-ray results with puberty progress can provide important clues about growth. For example, if X-ray results show fused growth plates and a boy has completed puberty, he has probably reached full height. If X-ray results show fused growth plates in the hand and wrist but the boy is mid-puberty, he may grow more.