I Want to be Taller – How to Increase Height Permanently & Temporarily

Surgery | Written by Joshua Leaf | Updated on November 6, 2021

A man who wants to be taller contemplating increasing his height and looking at a measuring stick.

“I want to be taller” is a sentiment that many people have shared; an age-old desire that is coupled with pseudoscientific rhetoric. The myth of adults growing taller even after the fusing of their growth plates is believed to simply be an old wives-tale [1], but we’ll show you tried and true ways to make yourself taller in 1 year or less!

To be fair, an adult’s only way to get taller permanently is leg lengthening surgery, unlike adolescents who can still grow through a healthy lifestyle [2]. But that doesn’t mean that adults are out of options. Discover some of the best temporary and permanent solutions to grow taller along with some tips for growing teenagers too.

How to Get Taller

The desire to get taller is prevalent in both adolescents and adults, but natural height gain is only possible in adolescents [3]. For them, the possibilities and approaches to get taller are vastly different than those of adults, with kids being a better and faster candidate. The hawkish propaganda of adults getting taller through minor exercising (stretching and planks) that is peddled by so many websites still pervades, despite it being blatantly false [3]. It’s wholly possible for adults to gain a dose of permanent height gain,, but it is not through general exercises and nutrition that’s claimed by many,

But why do people want to get taller? This question answers itself if we take even a cursory look at the world. Not only are taller individuals perceived to be more intelligent and trustworthy [4], they enjoy a healthy advantage in the workplace [5] and personal relationships [6]. This stereotyping and discriminatory labelling have affected the mental health of many of average and less-than-average height and contributed to their height dysphoria [7]. To curb this growing sense of heightism and self-deprecation, people start turning towards medical science [8]. While it’s true that genetics play a major role in adolescent and adult height (about 80%) [9], that doesn’t mean that there are no other options, in fact there’s a surprising number of them.

How to Grow Taller As a Teenager

An adolescent is in the best time of their life to get a head-start in the height race and potentially reap the rewards in the future. With still developing growth plates, a teenager can fight against these influences and mitigate any chances of future heightism. By combining a natural, healthy lifestyle along with an affinity for exercising – they can add on to their height [10].

Physical Exercise

Practicing regular exercises, like sports, stretching and weight training, help stimulate the growth hormones (GH) and other anabolic hormones [10][11]. With a daily adherence towards a routine of regular stretching, cycling, running and swimming, it’s possible to facilitate growth in children [10][11]. An oft-neglected part of a healthy lifestyle is a good night’s sleep. A healthy 8-hour, deep sleep has shown to help secrete human growth hormones (hGH) at a rapid rate [11]

Nutritious Diet

Moreover, exercise is nearly negligent if we don’t even follow a proper, nutritious food diet. Arguably, nutrition can be considered the most significant factor in height gain outside of genetics itself [12]. Milk alone is a major factor of height gain in both adolescents and adults [13]. Additionally, a high intake of lean protein foods like beans, lean beef, yogurt, peas etc. in late childhood and adolescence has been associated with growing adolescence size and height [14]. An underrated contributor here is Vitamin-D. Consuming foods with a modest amount of Vitamin-D like, liver, salmon oil, egg yolks or even 15 minutes out in the sun, vastly strengthens bone growth and strength [15]. If these comprehensive steps are not working quickly enough for you, then it is viable to utilize temporary measures like better posture or elevator shoes.

Growth Retarders

It’s important to know about the corroborators of stunting teen growth. Several substances are responsible for directly barring adolescent growth, either by halting or slowing the secretion of growth hormones. Alcohol, one of the oldest criminals, manages to stunt growth in both present [17] and relapsed [18] consumers significantly. The effects of nicotine from cigarettes, while negligible, still warrants caution [19]. Even something as casual as caffeine has astonishing effects in slowing down bone density and growth [20].

Tips to Get Taller for Adults – Natural & Temporary Strategies

Adults are going to have a much tougher time simply persevering their short stature. With fused growth plates, it’s pretty unlikely for them to gain height naturally through hormone secretion and nutrition. That, however, does not mean that there is no other way. Until one is financially stable or sure enough to go for more permanent surgical solutions, some ingenious temporary measure will work wonders.

Temporary Strategy

Using a sort of small shoe insole called heel inserts is a subtle yet genius method to appear taller. They’re affordable and can be comfortably inserted into your shoes, adding up to 2.5 inches to your height. Or you can even use the already-heightened elevator shoes which makes others perceive you taller than you are, without sacrificing the comfort of a normal one.

Natural Strategy

There’s some subtle psychological cues that one can use to manipulate perceptions. Having a good posture (sitting straight, not hunched back) or standing tall with widened shoulders has shown to make people think one is taller than they are [22]. This method can efficiently complement elevator shoes when sitting down.

How to Permanently Increase Height for Adults

No one is willing to go on their entire lives shuffling between temporary ways to inflate one’s height, and for those people there exists a solution, leg lengthening. It is a limb elongation surgery during which a person’s leg is lengthened. Despite sounding risky and unwise, leg lengthening surgeries have a remarkably high success rate with cutting-edge facilities, boasting a whopping 95% success rate [23]. The surgeries also have a history of drastically improving their patients’ lives [24], even down to mitigating their feelings of inadequacies and height dysphoria [25].

Unfortunately albeit expectedly, even the most robust of cosmetic lengthening methods are not without their risks. Side effects like stiffness, muscle pain or swelling are common but disappear within a few months of recovery [26]. The more complicated ones may occur due to using non-standard equipment and methods or on the off chance that proper surgical precautions were not taken.

Grow Taller With Cosmetic Leg Lengthening Surgery

Cosmetic leg lengthening is the final frontier of height enhancement methods. It is the most reliable and efficient way to permanently increase one’s true height, but it is also the riskiest. Statistically, leg lengthening has a remarkable success rate owing to the radical advances in its field coupled with pioneering surgeons but comes with its equally dangerous, yet rare complications [27]. These complications are very easily avoided if enough preparations and proper financing is implemented.

Regardless, it has been known to help even those who had exhausted all other alternatives [28] so taking into consideration the exorbitant costs for a quality procedure and the mental duress one faces due to their dysphoria, it is advisable to think over their decisions before deciding to undergo such a surgery.


The regrettable reality of our society is that height is viewed analogous to acceptance and attraction, and that has driven a significant number of people to a pursuit of getting taller naturally or other means. Fortunately, there are many resources, means and even medical surgeries for anyone with a desire to increase their height.

No matter which route you decide, if you face difficulties surrounding your height it’s always a good idea to discuss the matter with a healthcare professional to see what other treatments are available.


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[2] Borer K. T. (1995). The effects of exercise on growth. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 20(6), 375–397. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199520060-00004

[3] Samson, M. (2000). Relationships between physical performance measures, age, height and body weight in healthy adults. Age and Ageing, 29(3), 235–242. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/29.3.235

[4] Re, D. E., Dzhelyova, M., Holzleitner, I. J., Tigue, C. C., Feinberg, D. R., & Perrett, D. I. (2012). Apparent height and body mass index influence perceived leadership ability in three-dimensional faces. Perception, 41(12), 1477–1485. https://doi.org/10.1068/p7342 

[5] Judge, T. A., & Cable, D. M. (2004). The effect of physical height on workplace success and income: Preliminary test of a theoretical model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(3), 428–441. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.89.3.428

[6] Brewer, G., & Riley, C. (2009). Height, relationship satisfaction, jealousy, and mate retention. Evolutionary Psychology, 7(3), 147470490900700. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470490900700310

[7] Sarin, A. (2017). Broadening the argument on limb lengthening. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 2(4). https://doi.org/10.20529/ijme.2017.071 

[8] Lee, R. C., Aulisio, M., & Liu, R. W. (2020). Exploring the Ethics of Stature Lengthening as Treatment for Height Dysphoria. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 15(3), 163–168. https://doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1502

[9] Chan, Y., Salem, R. M., Hsu, Y. H., McMahon, G., Pers, T. H., Vedantam, S., Esko, T., Guo, M. H., Lim, E. T., GIANT Consortium, Franke, L., Smith, G. D., Strachan, D. P., & Hirschhorn, J. N. (2015). Genome-wide Analysis of Body Proportion Classifies Height-Associated Variants by Mechanism of Action and Implicates Genes Important for Skeletal Development. American journal of human genetics, 96(5), 695–708. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.02.018

[10] Borer K. T. (1995). The effects of exercise on growth. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 20(6), 375–397. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199520060-00004

[11] Godfrey, R. J., Madgwick, Z., & Whyte, G. P. (2003). The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 33(8), 599–613. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200333080-00005 

[12] Lifshitz F. (2009). Nutrition and growth. Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology, 1(4), 157–163. https://doi.org/10.4274/jcrpe.v1i4.39

[14] Wiley A. S. (2005). Does milk make children grow? Relationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American journal of human biology: the official journal of the Human Biology Council, 17(4), 425–441. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20411

[15] KM, S., PF, J., A, M., A, F., & E, O. (2019). Associations of protein intake in early childhood with body composition, height, and insulin-like growth factor i in mid-childhood and early adolescence. Yearbook of Paediatric Endocrinology. https://doi.org/10.1530/ey.16.4.10 

[16] Men’s Health. (2019). Pull-ups to increase height. www.menshealth.com. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a27559651/pullups-guide/. 

[17] Prinz, P. N., Roehrs, T. A., Vitaliano, P. P., Linnoila, M., & Weitzman, E. D. (1980). Effect of alcohol on sleep and nighttime plasma growth hormone and cortisol concentrations. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 51(4), 759–764. https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem-51-4-759

[18] Heinz, A., Dettling, M., Kuhn, S., Dufeu, P., Gräf, K. J., Kürten, I., Rommelspacher, H., & Schmidt, I. G. (1995). Blunted growth hormone response is associated with early relapse in alcohol-dependent patients. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research, 19(1), 62–65.

[19] Gossain, V. V., Sherma, N. K., Srivastava, L., Michelakis, A. M., & Rovner, D. R. (1986). Hormonal effects of smoking–II: Effects on plasma cortisol, growth hormone, and prolactin. The American journal of the medical sciences, 291(5), 325–327. https://doi.org/10.1097/00000441-198605000-00007

[20] Massey, L. K., & Whiting, S. J. (1993). Caffeine, urinary calcium, calcium metabolism and bone. The Journal of nutrition, 123(9), 1611–1614. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/123.9.1611

[21] Ali Express. (n.d.). Elevator Shoes. www.aliexpress.com. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000062250135.html. 

[22] Berger, W., Trippel, M., Discher, M., & Dietz, V. (1992). Influence of subjects’ height on the stabilization of posture. Acta oto-laryngologica, 112(1), 22–30. https://doi.org/10.3109/00016489209100778

[23] Rozbruch, R. (n.d.). Limb Lengthening: An overview by s. Robert Rozbruch: HSS. Hospital for Special Surgery. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.hss.edu/conditions_limb-lengthening-overview.asp.

[24] Hosny, G. A. (2020). Limb lengthening history, evolution, complications and current concepts. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s10195-019-0541-3

[25] Guerreschi, F., & Tsibidakis, H. (2016). Cosmetic lengthening: What are the limits? Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics, 10(6), 597–604. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11832-016-0791-z

[26] Fragomen, A. T. (2020). Motorized INTRAMEDULLARY LENGTHENING Nails: Outcomes and complications. Techniques in Orthopaedics, 35(3), 225–232. https://doi.org/10.1097/bto.0000000000000458

[27] Patel, N. K., Krumme, J., & Golladay, G. J. (2021). Incidence, injury mechanisms, and recovery of iatrogenic nerve injuries during hip and knee arthroplasty. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Publish Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.5435/jaaos-d-21-00122

[28] Elbatrawy, Y., & Ragab, I. M. (2015). Safe cosmetic leg lengthening for short stature: Long-term outcomes. Orthopedics, 38(7). https://doi.org/10.3928/01477447-20150701-51

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