Has a recent x-ray revealed you have a bone spur? Are you wondering what is a bone spur, what caused it, its symptoms and how to treat it? This health blurb answers these questions.
Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are not actually sharp projections as the name would imply. Instead, they are growths beyond the normal edge of a bone, which causes a protrusion. Most often this projection develops toward an end, where two bones meet to form a joint.
The cause of a bone spur is nearby chronic inflammation. An osteophyte materializes during the process of replacing tissue damaged by inflammatory disease. Spur on a bone is natures way of lending support and stability to an area. Therefore, osteophytes are usually associated with health conditions involving localized degenerative problems, such as:
- spinal stenosis
- plantar fasciitis
- reactive arthritis
- Achilles tendinitis
- cervical spondylosis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- degenerative disc disease
An osteophyte can arise on any bone, yet the spine, foot sole, heel, knee, neck and shoulder are frequently the sites causing symptoms. Bone spur symptoms emerge if the protrusion creates a rub up against adjacent nerves, tendons, ligaments or bones. This contact may cause:
- radiating pain
- joint movement limitation
- range of motion restriction
- burning, tingling, numbness
- dull ache when standing or moving
- muscle spasms, muscle cramps, muscle weakness
Symptoms depends on where your spur is located. Additionally, a bone spurs can break off, float around and cause intermittent joint locking.
Not everyone experiences symptoms caused by bone spurs. So if your osteophyte doesn’t cause pain nor range of motion issues, then treatment likely won’t be necessary. Otherwise, there are a couple different treatment avenues.
If your symptoms are mild, then OTC pain relievers and NSAIDs are suggested. Another option is to have a cortisone injection to help reduce bone spur swelling and pain for a longer period. Physical therapy can assist in restoring flexibility and strength. And finally, should your osteophytes cause excessive limitations to movement, then arthroscopic surgery might be best because this form of treatment trims the spur out of the way.