Bone Spurs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony projections that develop on the edges of bones. They can form on any bone in the body but are most commonly found in the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet. While some people with bone spurs may experience no symptoms, others may suffer from pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. In some cases, bone spurs can even put pressure on nerves and lead to numbness and tingling in the affected area.

Bone spurs can have a variety of causes, including aging, joint damage, and certain medical conditions such as osteoarthritis and plantar fasciitis. Although they can be alarming, there are many treatment options available to help manage bone spurs and reduce symptoms. In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of bone spurs, as well as the various treatment options, from conservative measures such as rest and physical therapy to more invasive treatments like surgery.

Whether you are currently experiencing symptoms of bone spurs or simply want to learn more about this common condition, this article will provide you with the information you need to better understand and manage bone spurs.


Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs


Bone spurs can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to severe pain and disability. One of the most common symptoms of bone spurs is joint pain, which can be accompanied by stiffness and reduced range of motion. For example, if bone spurs develop in the knee, they can cause pain and difficulty walking or bending the knee. Similarly, if bone spurs form in the spine, they can put pressure on nerves and cause back pain or even radiating pain in the arms or legs.

Another common symptom of bone spurs is swelling and inflammation in the affected area. This can be caused by the body’s immune response to the bone spur, as well as by the irritation of surrounding tissues. For instance, bone spurs in the foot can cause swelling and redness in the affected area, making it difficult to walk or wear shoes.

Additionally, bone spurs in the shoulder can cause inflammation in the tendons and muscles surrounding the joint, leading to weakness and limited mobility. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

When to Take Action


While some bone spurs may be asymptomatic and require no treatment, it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms, as they can indicate a more serious underlying condition. In general, if you are experiencing persistent or severe pain, swelling, or reduced range of motion in a joint, it is a good idea to seek medical attention. For instance, if you have a bone spur in your neck that is causing pain and stiffness, it may be putting pressure on your spinal cord or nerves and require immediate attention.

Similarly, if you have a bone spur in your foot that is making it difficult to walk or causing chronic swelling, you may need to see a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist for treatment.

It is also important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms that could indicate nerve damage or other complications. For example, if you have a bone spur in your wrist that is causing numbness or tingling in your hand or fingers, it may be compressing a nerve and require surgical intervention. In some cases, bone spurs can also lead to the development of conditions like bursitis or tendinitis, which can cause additional symptoms like redness, warmth, and fluid buildup.

By seeking prompt medical attention for bone spurs, you can ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to help manage your symptoms and prevent further complications.


Uncovering the Culprits


Bone spurs develop in response to stress, pressure, or rubbing of bones against each other. The body produces extra bone to try to repair the damage, resulting in the formation of bone spurs. Some common causes of bone spurs include osteoarthritis, aging, and sports injuries. For example, athletes who engage in repetitive motions, such as runners and tennis players, are at an increased risk of developing bone spurs due to the constant pressure and wear and tear on their joints.

Another common cause of bone spurs is obesity. Excess body weight places additional pressure on the joints, which can lead to the development of bone spurs. In addition, people who have a family history of bone spurs are more likely to develop them. Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis, can also increase the risk of developing bone spurs. In the case of spinal stenosis, bone spurs can grow in the spinal column and press against nerves, causing pain and discomfort. Despite their name, bone spurs are not actually sharp or pointed. They are usually smooth and rounded and do not cause any pain or discomfort unless they press against nearby nerves or tissues.


Are You at Risk? 


Bone spurs are a common condition that can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. While anyone can develop bone spurs, certain factors can increase the risk of their development. One of the main risk factors for bone spurs is age. As we get older, our bones become weaker and more susceptible to damage. This can lead to the development of bone spurs in areas that are prone to wear and tear, such as the joints. In fact, it is estimated that up to 30% of people over the age of 60 have bone spurs in their joints.

Another risk factor for bone spurs is certain medical conditions. For example, people with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, are more likely to develop bone spurs. This is because the damage caused by osteoarthritis can trigger the body to produce extra bone in an attempt to repair the joint. In addition, people who engage in repetitive activities, such as athletes or people who have jobs that require them to perform the same motion over and over, are at an increased risk of developing bone spurs.


Exploring the Most Common Bone Spurs Treatments

The most common treatment options for bone spurs range from nonsurgical to surgical, depending on the severity of the condition. Nonsurgical treatments may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and the use of orthotics or shoe inserts to help support the affected joint. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the joint, reducing pressure on the affected area and improving mobility.

If these treatments are not effective, more invasive options may be necessary. One such option is corticosteroid injections, which are injections of a powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected joint. This can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, but the effects are usually temporary. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bone spur. This is typically only done if the bone spur is causing significant pain and other treatments have been unsuccessful.

Surgery can involve removing the entire bone spur or simply shaving it down to reduce its size. It is recommended to explore nonsurgical options because the risks are lower.


Our Final Thoughts On The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments Of Bone Spurs


Bone spurs are a common condition that can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. They are caused by a variety of factors, including age, medical conditions, and repetitive activities. Symptoms can vary depending on the location and severity of the bone spur but can include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint. While not all bone spurs require treatment, there are a variety of options available for those that do, ranging from mild to invasive.

With the right treatment, it is often possible to reduce pain and improve mobility, allowing people with bone spurs to continue to lead active and fulfilling lives. It is important to work closely with a doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs and to take steps to prevent bone spurs from developing in the first place. By staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture, you can help to reduce your risk of developing bone spurs and other joint-related conditions.


Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?


Dr. Chen is a highly skilled Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor dedicated to helping athletes and active individuals achieve their full potential! Based at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California, Dr. Chen is a specialist in the non-surgical treatment of bone spurs and a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.

With a passion for sports and medicine, Dr. Chen has a remarkable background. He graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and completed his residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers). Then, he honed his skills further by completing a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the top-ranked children’s hospitals in the country. During his time there, Dr. Chen provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH).

Dr. Chen’s love for sports has not faded since completing his training. He continues to give back by volunteering at the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek.

At The Center for Sports Medicine, Dr. Chen is surrounded by a highly skilled and multidisciplinary team of specialists, including orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists. With quick access to this team of experts, Dr. Chen is committed to getting you back to your best self as quickly and safely as possible. If you’re looking for a dedicated and experienced doctor to help you with your musculoskeletal issues, look no further than Dr. Chen! Click here to contact us for your next appointment!



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