An Austria native, Adam Rainer was born in 1899 to average sized parents. At the tender age of 18, Rainer measured at only 4 feet 0.25 inches and was deemed too short to join the army in WWI. Medically, he was declared a dwarf, but despite his short height, medical records noted he had remarkably large hands and feet.


When he turned 21, everything changed for Rainer. He began growing at an alarming rate, skyrocketing from 4’10” to 7’1.” During this decade of his unimaginable growth sprout, Rainer was developing severe spinal curvature. Why? It was unveiled that he was suffering from Acromegaly. The disorder is caused by the pituitary gland producing too much growth hormone. A condition that only affects about 6 in 100,000 people.

It wasn’t until he was 31 that Rainer found out about his condition. A brain surgeon found a benign tumor that had been pressing on his pituitary gland. The tumor was removed to reduce the velocity of his growth, but it was too late. The damage had been done.

Signs and Symptoms

When you have Acromegaly, the soft tissue from your body begins to swell. The swelling causes enlargement of the hands, feet, nose, lips, and ears. It also leads to the thickening of the skin. The swelling doesn’t stop at your hands and feet but also affects your internal organs, especially the heart. It ultimately weakens the muscles and kidneys and causes the vocals cords to become distinctively thick, leading to the slowing of speech. It also causes macroglossia, which is the enlargement of the tongue.

Did you know?

  • Acromegaly was first documented in 1772 by Nicolas Saucerotte.
  • The term Acromegaly is from Greek ἄκρον (akron) meaning “extremity” and μέγα (mega) meaning “large.”


Rainer sustained an alarming growth rate of 3.6 inches per year. Unfortunately, this left him bedridden. He was unable to stand unassisted and was admitted to a home for care. He passed away on March 4th, 1950. He was 51 and measured 7’8.”

Believe it or not, Adam Rainer is the only person to be classified both as a dwarf and a giant.

Take a look at some of these incredible photos below.

Have you heard of Wadlow?

Robert Wadlow, once the world’s tallest man, grew to be 8 ft 1.5in by the time he was 17 years old!

Wadlow from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Vimeo.