Understanding Bone Spurs

Bone spurs or osteophytes are painful bony growth and projections that develop on the edges of ordinary bone. The bone spurs themselves are not painful. The pain is generated when the spurs start rubbing against the surrounding nerves and bones. Bone spurs can form on any bone in the body and usually are formed in the joints.

Causes of bone spurs

The primary cause of bone spurs may be a result of a certain disease or condition. A known cause may be osteoarthritis. When osteoarthritis tries to break down the cartilage in the joints, the body tries to repair the damage, resulting mostly in new bony growths created at the edges of the existing bones.

Symptoms of bone spurs

Some bone spurs may go undetected for years since they don’t’ usually show any signs or symptoms. Depending on the bone spurs and their location, some of the more common symptoms include joint pain as well as limited motion of the joints. Some bone spurs may be physically visible especially those that are located in the fingers, elbows and toes.

How bone spurs is diagnosed?

The diagnosis for bone spurs usually starts with patients experiencing joint pain. Doctors would then try to locate where the pain might be coming from by performing a physical exam. A bone spur might be diagnosed if the doctor feels some bony outgrowths near the area of the joint pain. There are times that the bone spurs may escape manual detection in which case a doctor may recommend an x-ray taken of the area.

How to treat bone spurs?

There is no specific treatment for bone spurs although there are certain medications that the doctor may prescribe to ease the pain caused by them. The next thing would be possible surgery if the bone spur presents a serious limitation to joint movement and cause motions problems for the patient.