Bone Spurs: What Are They and What Can I Do About Them?

Bone spurs are a calcium deposit that builds up along a bone into a bone-like growth. They appear because of continued stress or rubbing of a bone for a prolonged period of time.

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What is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur is a calcium deposit that builds up along a bone into a bone-like growth. They appear because of continued stress or rubbing of a bone for a prolonged period of time. New bone forms in response to the stress or inflammation, the bone’s way of trying to stabilize or protect itself.

What Causes Bone Spurs?

Generally, spurs in the foot are caused by strain to the muscle and ligaments of the foot, which makes them a common problem for athletes and workers who put their feet under frequent strain. They are also frequently associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes include arthritis, foot injury, strain caused by being overweight, and poorly-fitted shoes. They take time to form, which means it can be tricky to catch them in the early stages.

What Do Bone Spurs Look Like?

Bone spurs are usually small, about a fourth of an inch (.6 cm) long, which can make them difficult to detect. They may cause pain, inflammation, and swelling in the foot, and the area might feel warm to the touch. Eventually, a small protrusion may become visible.

What Are the Symptoms of Bone Spurs?

But, on the other hand, they may cause only a few symptoms or none at all, depending on how and where they appear. As many as half of people with them feel no pain from the growth. They are often discovered by accident when a podiatrist is examining the foot for other problems. But even if they causes no pain or discomfort, they can grow to cause difficulties over time.

If you are experiencing foot pain or have noticed any unusual bumps or protrusions, visit your podiatrist; don’t let the condition get worse. Your podiatrist may recommend any of various treatments, including exercise, custom orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and cortisone injections. If such treatments are ineffective, surgery might be required.

Bone Spur FAQs

Osteophytes, commonly referred to as bone spurs, are bony protrusions that form on the margins of bones. The body may manufacture extra bone material to help protect the damaged area when bones or adjacent tissues are under stress, pressure, or friction that causes them to develop.

Their growth can be influenced by a number of circumstances, including:

  1. Age: As people get older, their bones and joints are worn out, which can result in the development of bone spurs.
  2. Genetics: Due to genetic causes, certain people may be more prone to developing them.
  3. Poor alignment and posture can put strain on the bones and joints, which over time can result in the growth of these.

The location, size, and symptoms of a bone spur will determine the best course of treatment. Bone spurs typically don’t need to be treated unless they are hurting or uncomfortable.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen are examples of painkillers that can aid with mild cases of inflammation and discomfort. Symptom relief and averting future harm can also be accomplished with rest and physical therapy.

Surgery can be required to remove them in more severe situations if it is impairing mobility or causing a lot of pain. Normally, this is usually used as a last resort and only after all other therapeutic choices have failed.

Bone spurs typically don’t have any symptoms and don’t need to be treated. However, issues might arise if bone spurs are not removed and continue to grow.

Pain and discomfort are among the most common side effects of untreated bone spurs, particularly if the spur is pressing on nearby nerves, muscles, or other structures. This may restrict motion and impair a person’s capacity to carry out daily tasks.

Inflammation brought on by these has the potential to worsen the condition of the damaged joint or tissue and speed up its aging. Untreated bone spurs may occasionally have a role in the progression of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition.

Bone spurs can continue to grow, but the speed and size of the growth varies depending on the location and underlying causes of the spur. In certain circumstances, they may naturally cease growing and even begin to recede with time if left untreated.

But if the underlying ailment that gave rise to the bone spur, like arthritis or a tendon injury, persists, the spur can keep expanding. Additionally, continued strain or pressure on a joint or bone can cause bone spurs to develop.

Sometimes, bone spurs can enlarge and become more symptomatic, resulting in discomfort, stiffness, and restricted movement.