Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are sharp projections of bone that may form where bones meet in joints or in the spine. Most commonly, these bone spurs are the result of osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage of the joints wears away with time. They can also occur at points where tendons, ligaments or muscles attach to bones, as a result of inflammation. Bone spurs are formed by the body’s attempts to repair the damage caused by the arthritis, tendonitis, or other inflammation/injury. In the spine, a bone spur may occur due to inflammation of the ligament around a degenerating disc.

A condition like bone spurs can be incredibly painful, or it can go completely unnoticed. For some sufferers, even a single spur can turn basic physical tasks like walking or bending into an agonizing chore. For others, the spurs are not irritating and remain untreated, eventually disappearing on their own.

Individuals suffering from symptomatic bone spurs may experience:

  • Pain in the area of the bone spur
  • Numbness, if compressing a nerve
  • General tenderness of tissue

Conditions like obesity can also cause or exacerbate the formation of bone spurs, as carrying excessive weight on one’s frame can cause considerable stress on the body and its joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Treatment for bone spurs depends largely on how they affect a patient’s health. As previously noted, many cases of bone spurs go completely unnoticed and go away on their own without any formal treatment. Others may be irritating enough to warrant non-surgical treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, epidural steroid injections, and/or physical therapy. Still others may be severe enough to cause unrelenting pain or motor loss, requiring removal via surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or offending nerve.

If you are experiencing pain that you believe may be caused by bone spurs and would like to discuss treatment options with Dr. Neece, contact our clinic at your earliest convenience to set up an appointment.