Dwarfism Characteristics

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

The condition dwarfism or restricted growth is typically characterized by short stature, with an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches (147 cm). Over 200 different disorders exist that can cause restricted growth and aside form short stature, symptoms vary considerably depending on the cause of the condition. Generally these disorders can be divided into those that cause either disproportionate short stature or proportionate short stature.

Disproportionate short stature (DSS)

In this form of dwarfism, one or more body parts are larger than the other and in most cases the trunk is larger than the limbs. The head is usually disproportionately large compared with the rest of the body. The majority of dwarfism cases are of the DSS form and the most common cause of DSS is achondroplasia. Typical features of this condition include:

  • A trunk of average size
  • Short limbs, particularly the upper portion of the legs and arms
  • Short fingers with thumbs and ring fingers set wide apart
  • Poorly mobile elbows
  • Bowed legs
  • Large head with flat nose bridge and high forehead
  • Curved lower spine (lordosis)
  • Balance problems
  • Osteoarthritis of the bones and joints
  • Sleep apnea causing snoring and interrupted sleep
  • Excess fluid in the brain cavities (hydrocephalus)
  • Average height is around 4 feet or 122 cm

Proportionate dwarfism

Here, all parts of the body are small but they are in proportion to each other. Disorders that cause PSS affect overall growth and several bodily symptoms are often poorly developed. Usually, PSS is simply caused by having small parents. Another cause of PSS is growth hormone deficiency, caused by the pituitary gland failing to produce sufficient levels of growth hormone. Signs of this condition include:

  • Slow growth rate for age
  • Delayed or absent sexual development
  • Height below the third percentile
  • Low blood sugar level

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 09). Dwarfism Characteristics. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 21, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dwarfism-Characteristics.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Dwarfism Characteristics". News-Medical. 21 May 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dwarfism-Characteristics.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Dwarfism Characteristics". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dwarfism-Characteristics.aspx. (accessed May 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Dwarfism Characteristics. News-Medical, viewed 21 May 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dwarfism-Characteristics.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.