Bone spurs can be defined as non-cancerous growths that appear along the edges of bones. The medical term for this problem is Osteophyte. The growth itself is not painful, but it can poke into surrounding tissue and other bones and cause pain.
Bone spurs can grow on any bone in the body but are most commonly found on the joints (or any other place where two bones have cause to rub each other). This is not a hereditary disease.
Bone spurs are usually a side effect of another more serious disorder. Such medical conditions include osteoarthritis, spondylosis and plantar fasciitis.
In some cases, the growth may suddenly break off from the main bone and start drifting around in the body. Usually these pieces of bone bury themselves in the nearest joint tissue. This can result in joint pain and difficulty in movement.
Osteophytes are usually detected through an X-ray examination conducted by a registered radiologist. They can also be seen by making the patient undergo a CT scan or an MRI scan.
The treatment for bone spurs is fairly conservative. Doctors usually do not prescribe any medication for the problem if there is no pain or any other discomfort. However, if the patient is not able to lead a comfortable daily routine, surgery and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to treat the condition.
In some cases, bone spurs are not detected because of absence of any obvious signs and symptoms. But most people do show some common symptoms. Here is a list of such signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a bone spur in the body.
Signs And Symptoms Of Bone Spurs
Pain or Discomfort
When the spur grows on a bone joint, there is a very high chance of it rubbing another bone nearby.
This causes friction and results in a grating feeling and pain.
This usually happens when the bone spur either rubs another bone or breaks off and starts floating around. The inflammation usually increases gradually and the affected site may be painful as well.
This is a medical condition where the spinal canal starts becoming narrow. This can be caused by the growth of a bone spur on the spinal column which results in buildup of pressure on the bones (which makes the space between them shrink).
Discomfort in Eating
In cases where the bone spur grows in the cervical region, the bones may poke into the throat and cause pain and discomfort while eating food and swallowing liquids.
Discomfort in Bbreathing
Similarly, if a bone spur grows anywhere on the neck, the windpipes may be affected. This will make the act of inhaling and exhaling very painful and difficult.
When bone spurs appear on the bones of the fingers or toes, their shape is usually visible. This makes the fingers and toes look misshapen and twisted.
When a person develops a bone spur on any of the joints (especially the knees and shoulders), the extent to which a person can normally move them becomes restricted. This is because the spur comes in the way of the range of motion of the joint.