What is a bone spur?
A bone spur also known as osteophyte is a bony growth formed on your normal bones. Bone spur can caused wear and tear or pain when it presses or rubs on other bones or soft tissues like nerves, tendons or ligaments in the body. Common places that bone spur will be likely to grow are the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees and feet.
What causes bone spurs?
A bone spur forms as the body is trying to heal itself by building extra bone. Bone spur typically forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that continues for a long period of time.
Some bone spurs form as we age. During the aging process, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones within joints will break down and wears away eventually, known as osteoarthritis. Also, the discs that situates in between the bones of the spine may also break down with age. As time goes, this process will lead to pain and swelling and in some people, bone spurs will form along the ends of the joint. Bone spurs cause by aging is very common in the joints of the spine and feet.
Bone spur in heels
Bone spurs form in the feet in response to tight ligaments, to running or dancing that puts stress on the feet, and to pressure from being overweight or poor fitting shoes. For e.g., the long nerve tissue on the bottom of the bottom of the foot called plantar fascia can become can become stressed and caused inflammation, known as plantar fasciitis. As the body trying to heal itself, a bone spur may form on the bottom of the heel (known as “heel spur”). Pressure at the back of the heel as a result of frequent wearing shoes that are too tight can also cause a bone spur at the back of the heel.
Bone spur in shoulder
Another common site for growth of bone spur is the shoulder. Shoulder joint is a flexible joint that is able to move in different directions. Over time, all the structures of the shoulders like ligaments, tendons and the bones will wear out and rub against one another. The muscles that enables you to lift and rotate your arm (known as rotator cuff), runs from your shoulder blade to your upper arm with tendons. As these tendons move about in a very narrow space in between the top of your shoulder and your upper arm, they tend to rub on the bones. Bone spurs can form in this narrow area that, in turn, will pinch the rotator cuff tendons, resulting in inflammation, stiffness, weakness, pain, and sometimes tearing of the tendon. This condition is also known as rotator cuff disorder occurs with age or sometimes repetitive use of the shoulder. Rotator cuff disorder occurs commonly in athletes, especially badminton players, and people working as painters as they need to often work overhead activities.
What are the symptoms if you have bone spur?
A lot of people have bone spurs without knowing it, because bone spurs cause no symptoms. However, if the bone spurs are pressing or rubbing against other bones or soft tissues, the soft tissues can break down over time, causing swelling and pain. Bone spurs in the foot can also cause corns and calluses when the tissues build up to provide padding over the bone spur.
Common condition cause by bone spur:
How are bone spurs diagnosed?
How are bone spurs treated?
Bone spurs that cause you pain or damage to other tissues will need to seek medical attention. Treatment may be directed at the causes, the symptoms or the bone spurs.
Treatments directed at the bone spurs
- Weight loss
- Surgically remove the bone spur