- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are bony projections that grow along the edges of bones. The bone spurs themselves aren't painful, but they can rub against nearby nerves and bones and cause pain.
Bone spurs can form on any bone. Most commonly they form where bones meet each other — in joints — but they can also be found where ligaments and tendons connect with bone. Bone spurs form in the joints that make up your knees, hips, elbow, shoulders, fingers and feet. Bone spurs can also form on the bones of your spine.
It isn't clear what causes bone spurs, but doctors believe they occur in reaction to changes in your joints due to diseases and aging. Bone spurs usually occur as a result of a disease or condition — most commonly osteoarthritis. But they can also form on their own.
Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms and may go undetected for years. Other bone spurs form in places where they might rub against other bones or push against nerves, causing pain and disability. What treatment, if any, that you receive for your bone spurs depends on where they're located and how they affect your health.
Screening and diagnosis
If you experience joint pain, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to better understand the pain you're feeling. He or she may feel around your joint to determine exactly where your pain is coming from. Sometimes your doctor can feel a bone spur, though sometimes bone spurs form in spots that can't be easily felt.
To confirm a diagnosis, your doctor may order imaging tests to get a look at your joints and bones. Some common ways of looking for bone spurs include X-ray exams and computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
There's no specific treatment for bone spurs. Treatment is typically directed at the underlying problem to prevent further joint damage. If your bone spurs are causing pain, your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease the pain.
Bone spurs that limit your range of motion or cause other problems that limit your ability to go about your day may require surgery. What surgical options you have will depend on where your bone spurs are located and your particular situation. For instance, bone spurs are often removed as part of a more comprehensive surgery for arthritis. If you have arthritis in your elbow, for example, your surgeon may remove bone spurs when he or she is making other repairs to your elbow.
Surgery to remove bone spurs can be done in an open procedure, meaning the surgeon cuts open the skin around your joint to gain access to your joint. Or bone spur removal may be done arthroscopically, meaning the surgeon makes several small incisions to insert special surgical tools. During arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon uses a tiny camera to see inside your joint.
If your bone spurs don't cause you any pain or if they don't limit any range of motion in your joints, then your bone spurs likely won't need treatment.Source(s): MayoClinic
- 1 decade ago