Bone Spurs: All You Need To Know About This Bone Disorder

Bone Spurs does not have any major symptoms. Read to know the conditions that affect bone spurs.

Written by: Puru Bansal Updated at: 2021-10-20 12:41

There are ample numbers of bone related issues which we are not aware of. Bone health is very important because it can create a number of issues in the later stages of adulthood. This is because most of the bone problems do not have initial symptoms and they become evident in the later stage of life. Bone spur is also a similar condition which occurs to older adults primarily. Bone spurs is also called osteophytosis which in some cases increases the risk of other problems too. Today we will know about bone spurs and the conditions affecting it. 

What Are Bone Spurs?

We consulted Dr. Imran Qureshi, Consultant and ENT specialist from BNK Hospital, Bangalore. He explains that bone spurs are projections which occur as extension of the bones meeting at a joint. These projections or extensions are naturally occurring and affect people majorly above 60 years of age. Bone spurs does not have any initial symptoms and it may remain unknown in most part of a person’s life until it starts creating problems in daily routine. This bone issue has its risks and treatments which can reduce this problem, however in most cases in India, people do not do so.

Where Does Bone Spurs Occur?

Bone spurs are more common in the area that is at risk of high inflammation or injury. It occurs near cartilage or tendons in multiple locations in the body.  It can be present on-

Heel bone of the foot, sole area- These are also called heel spurs, which is usually painful and is one of the most occurring regions in bone spurs.

Hands- It can also happen on the hands near the finger joints which might cause difficulty in movement.

Shoulder- Bone spurs lead to inflammation on the shoulders as well, this happens because tendons might rub against each other resulting to problem in shoulder movement.

Spine- narrowing of spine known as spinal stenosis is also a part of bone spurs. It also causes pain and numbness in the region. You might also feel weakness because of impingement of the nerves.

Hip and Knees- Having bone spurs in this region is less common but it can affect your knees adversely which might also lead to problem in performing daily routine activities.

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Signs and Symptoms of Bone Spurs

In most of the cases bone spurs do not have any major symptoms which can determine bone spurs. However depending on the location of the bone spur, you might have weakness, pain or tenderness. This is because tendons and cartilage present in that region gets affected and inflammation takes place. Here are some which you might experience if you get bone spurs-

  • Swelling in affected region
  • Tenderness
  • Numbness around the area
  • Difficulty in walking 
  • Weakness in routine activities
  • Pain in the body region associated with bone spur
  • Tingling in nerves

What Causes Bone Spurs?

Bone spurs are caused because of inflammation in the region where the extension of bone has taken place. It is usually a result of osteoarthritis which is a bone disease that occurs in joints. Osteoarthritis is a common problem that occurs in elderly people and hence results to bone spurs where osteoarthritis takes place. 

In some cases bone spurs also happen when there is degeneration in bone mass and in order to repair the loss, bone spurs take place. However this is not verified and research is still going on to find the exact cause of bone spurs.

Risk Factors Associated With Bone Spurs

There are very few risk factors that are associated with bone spurs. In general bone spurs do not do any harm to the body, but it can at times lead to injuries or structural deformities. Risk factors that can lead to bone spurs are as follows-

  • Scoliosis or curved spine
  • Poor posture 
  • Aging 
  • Hereditary factors
  • Osteoarthritis 

Diagnosis of Bone Spurs

Diagnosis is an important step to know if you have bone spur or not. Most of the symptoms that occur during bone spurs are not enough to determine bone spurs. Hence it becomes important to consult a expert and find out. The doctor may examine lump formation under your skin, this will also lead to cause or source of pain. 

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Once the source of pain is established, the expert may ask you to get an X-ray of the region where there is probability of having these spurs. If there is not certain indication in the X-ray, then you might as well go for MRI or CT scans to provide more detailed information about the ligaments and tendons present in the region.

After getting the scans, medical history is also checked to know about any injury or problem related to bones which could lead to bone spurs. This process can ensure whether you have bone spurs or not in the joint. 

Treatment for Bone Spurs

Once bone spurs are diagnosed then the first step is to reduce the inflammation or swelling from the region. For this doctor might suggest some pain medications and steroids that could bring down the swelling in the joint. Once the inflammation gets under control then physical therapy can be started to control the bone spurs.

Physical therapy is useful in strengthening the muscles around the joint and avoids putting pressure on nerves. If there is not much damage or formation of bone spurs then it might come back to place with constant physical therapies and few steroids in a year. 

If it does not happen this way, then it might be because of bone spurs that is pressing a particular nerve. In cases such as these, surgery is done to remove bone spurs and ease the nerve so that the pain and blockage gets removed. Surgery is done through incision in this method. 

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