What is a Bone Spur

What is a Bone Spur?

Are you experiencing pain in your lower back, shoulder, knee or ankle joints? Do your muscles feel inflamed around your joints? One possible diagnosis may be a bone spur. Also known as an osteophyte, bone spurs are outgrowths of bone that often occur in joints (where one bone meets another) or in areas where muscles and tendons attach to the bone. If you have osteoarthritis, this may be the culprit of your current pain.

What are the causes of bone spurs?

Bone spurs are typically caused by prolonged bone pressure, rubbing and/or stress. When bones rub against one another for too long or in ways that create a lot of pressure, our bodies sometimes try and grow extra bone material to repair itself.

While this is often natural for people as they age (as seen in examples of osteoarthritis), bone spurs can also occur in younger individuals who are active runners or dancers, are overweight or are not wearing shoes that fit properly. For athletes that tend to use their shoulder muscles often, such as basketball players, bone spurs are also common.

What are the symptoms of a bone spur?

Initially, bone spurs may not present any symptoms at all. It isn’t until the bone spurs begin to put more pressure on other bones and ligaments that pain can occur. When this happens, there may be inflammation, pain, and tearing of the muscles. If you are feeling pain and believe you may have a bone spur, you may be able to confirm this diagnosis with an X-ray.

What treatment options are there for bone spurs?

Many bone spurs do not require treatment since most of them do not cause pain. However, if you are in pain, there are a few key ways to alleviate the symptoms.

Weight loss is a common process to help alleviate some of the pressure and stress on your joints with bone spurs. Other procedures in the beginning stages of treatment may involve resting the joints or affected areas, placing ice on any inflamed areas and stretching parts of the body feeling pain. A professional may also help diagnosed individuals through physical therapy.

If the bone spur symptoms continue or worsen over time, surgical removal of the bone spur may be necessary. Talk to an orthopedic professional to determine which treatment option may be best for you.

Have a painful bone spur? Call Alexander Orthopaedic Associates!

If you or someone you know has a bone spur and needs assistance, then give our team at Alexander Orthopaedic Associates a call. We offer physical therapy options for those dealing.