Often referred to as an osteophyte, bone spurs are simply a bone outgrowth that develops on the edge of a person’s bone. While they can form on any bone in the body, they are commonly found near joints, where two or more bones form together. They are also found on tendons, muscles, or ligaments that are connected to bones.
Bones spurs commonly affect the heel, knee, shoulder, hip, lower back (lumbar spine), and the neck (cervical spine) areas. Other locations on the body where an individual might develop a bone spur includes: the wrist, hand, toes, foot (either the midfoot or arch), as well as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But, what causes these bone spurs to develop?
Simply put, ongoing stress on the bone, over a long period of time. This can be because of inflammation (e.g. tendinitis), or osteoarthritis. Under normal circumstances, bones have a cartilage layer that helps form a joint. When it comes to osteoarthritis, this layer slowly gets worn out, and the end result means that the two conjoining bones rub against each other. The stress creates inflammation, and new bones develop; bone spurs are really just the bone’s way of trying to protect itself. And at the end of the day, it seems that really anyone is susceptible to this condition.
The key to bone spurs, as with any other illness, is early detection; so you can get the treatment you need to feel better. Once diagnosed, your family physician can offer recommendations around over-the-counter pain medication to help with any discomfort, like Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), Tylenol (acetaminophen), or even Aleve (naproxen sodium). Still, it is important to note that in some cases, bone spurs simply need to be removed, and surgery would be required.
What should you look out for when it comes to bone spurs? It really does vary, depending on where the bone spur is located. Regardless, the top ten signs of symptoms of this condition include:
It’s rather scary to think you may be suffering from a condition, and not know about it; but the truth is, many who have bone spurs can live years with the condition and have no clue. More often than not, they will pop up during an X-Ray session, for another condition that is being looked into; which not only shocks the doctor, but the patient as well. While early detection is key to treatment, sadly in some cases, a patient will not go to the doctor, as they simply do not feel any discomfort.