Megan Johnson McCullough –Extra bone that forms on the end of a bone is called a bone spur. They typically can be found near the joints which is where bones meet end to end. Bone spurs are also called osteophytes and are smooth in texture but hard bone. The most common areas these are found are the feet, hips, knees, spine, hands, neck, and shoulders.
Bone spurs aren’t always problematic, but if they start to rub against other bones, they might cause pain and stiffness. This is especially true if they are pressing on nerves. As we age, the cushioning between joints starts to deteriorate. Bone spurs can result from joint damage caused by osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Joints can also be damaged by gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. They can also result after an injury to a joint or tendon. The body senses that the bone is injured so in an attempt to heal the area, the body starts to add bone to the injured location. Other causes include obesity, overuse, genes, diet, and narrowing of the spine.
Many times, bone spurs go undetected unless they are causing pain because the bone is pressing on tissues or nerves. Some people don’t even know they have a bone spur until they go see the doctor for an X-ray for something else. However, symptoms of bone spurs that are troublesome include bumps under the skin, muscle weakness or cramping, tingling in the arms or legs, and then of course pain or stiffness to the joint area when trying to move. A regular doctor can detect a bone spur, but typically a specialist is needed to help address the problem. A rheumatologist specializes in joint problems while an orthopedic doctor specializes in the musculoskeletal system. An X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or electroconductive test (measures how fast the nerves send signals), can be performed for diagnosis.
Treatment usually begins with the use of Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve, to help with the pain. However, these are not to be used for longer than a month. Steroid injections can be used reduce swelling. Physical therapy can also be performed. If none of these measures work, then removing the excess bone surgically can be done.
Bone spurs can’t exactly be prevented. They are part of the ageing and arthritis process. However, it is important to be sure to a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Wearing proper shoes is also important that have good cushion, good arch, and a wide enough toe area. Keeping the bones strong through regular weight bearing exercises is also important. The body is meant to move, so keep those joints healthy as best you can. When pain arises, seek treatment immediately in order to stay on your feet and perform all the daily activities you have in your routine. This is not a spur of the moment condition, and your body appreciates self-care and attention.