Posted 23 September, 2023
A bone spur, also known as an osteophyte, is a bony projection that develops along the edges of bones. These growths usually form in response to long-term stress, pressure, or inflammation on a particular area of a bone. Bone spurs can occur in various parts of the body, such as the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet.
Most bone spurs do not cause any symptoms and may go unnoticed, but they can sometimes lead to pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced mobility if they impinge on nearby tissues or nerves. Treatment options for bone spurs include pain management, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in severe cases, surgery to remove the spur. However, the decision to treat a bone spur typically depends on the severity of symptoms and how much it affects a person's quality of life.
Symptoms of Bone spur
The symptoms of a bone spur can vary depending on its location and size. It's important to note that some people may have bone spurs without experiencing any symptoms, while others may experience:
- Pain and discomfort, especially when they rub against nearby nerves or tissues.
- Swelling in the affected area due to inflammation.
- Stiffness, especially if they are located in joints such as the knee, hip, or shoulder.
- Limit the range of motion in joints and make it difficult to perform certain movements.
- Tingling or numbness in the affected area.
- Weakness in the muscle, especially if they affect the muscles or tendons.
Causes of Bone spur
Bone spurs typically develop as a result of long-term stress, pressure, or inflammation on a specific area of a bone. Here are some of the common causes of bone spurs:
This is the most common cause of bone spurs. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the joints wears down, leading to bone-on-bone contact, and causing the body to create new bone growth in the area.
As people age, their bones become weaker and more susceptible to damage, which can lead to the development of bone spurs.
Poor posture can put excessive stress on certain areas of the body, leading to the development of bone spurs over time.
Repetitive movements or overuse of certain joints or muscles can cause bone spurs to form.
Some people may be more predisposed to developing bone spurs due to their genetic makeup.
Bone spurs can also be associated with other medical conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, spinal stenosis, or Achilles tendonitis.
Diagnosis of Bone spur
The diagnosis of bone spurs usually begins with a physical examination and a review of the patient's medical history. The doctor may ask the patient about their symptoms, such as pain or stiffness in the affected area, and may perform tests to assess the range of motion and stability of the joint.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans, may also be used to confirm the presence of bone spurs and to determine their size, shape, and location. These tests can also help rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as arthritis or a herniated disc.
If the bone spurs are causing significant pain or limiting the patient's mobility, the doctor may recommend additional tests, such as a bone scan or ultrasound, to further evaluate the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment options may include medications to relieve pain and inflammation, physical therapy, or surgery to remove the bone spurs.
Treatment methods of Bone spur
The treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, the location of the bone spur, and the underlying cause. Its treatment typically focuses on relieving pain and inflammation, improving mobility and strength, and addressing the underlying cause of the bone spur. Here are some of the common treatment options:
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen may help relieve pain and inflammation.
Exercises to improve flexibility, strength, and mobility may help reduce symptoms and prevent further complications.
Orthotics or shoe inserts-
These devices can help redistribute pressure and reduce pain caused by bone spurs in the feet.
Corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the bone spur, especially if it is causing significant pain, discomfort, or interfering with normal function.
Making lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, improving posture, and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms can also help reduce the risk of bone spurs.
It's essential to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment approach for bone spurs, as treatment options may vary depending on the individual's condition and medical history.
When to see a Doctor?
You should see a doctor if you experience persistent pain or discomfort in a joint or other affected area, as this may be a sign of a bone spur. Some other signs that you may need to see a doctor include:
- Swelling or redness around the affected area.
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in a joint.
- Tingling or numbness in the affected area.
- Difficulty walking or performing daily activities.
- Pain that worsens with activity or movement.
- Pain that does not improve with rest or over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you have a history of osteoarthritis, repetitive stress injuries, or other medical conditions that increase the risk of bone spurs, it's essential to seek medical attention if you experience any new symptoms.