Skeletal dysplasia, achondroplasia, or more commonly called dwarfism, describes a group of about 400 congenital disorders characterized by abnormal growth of cartilage and bones. It causes disproportion of the long bones (arms and legs), and the spine and head.
About one in every 10,000 babies are born with dwarfism. Symptoms include a relatively normal trunk length, shorter than usual arms and legs, bowed legs, reduced mobility in the elbows but over-flexibility in other joints, a large head, a flat face, prominent forehead, and crowded teeth.
Several challenges arise with this condition, including breathing difficulties such as snoring and apnea, ear infections, bowed legs after walking begins, soft muscle tone, and hydrocephalus.
Growth hormones are not an applicable treatment. Occasionally, surgery is needed at the base of the skull and the lower back or to open airways by adenoid removal. Since the teeth can also be compromised, dental work and orthodontia may be necessary.