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Bone spurs

Definition


Disease: Bone spurs Bone spurs
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases

Disease Definition:

Called osteophytes, bone spurs are bony projections developing along the edges of a bone. Osteophytes are not painful themselves. But if they rub against neighboring nerves or bones, they could cause real pain.

Although bone spurs usually grow in the joints, but they can grow on any bone. They can form on the spine and are also found where ligaments and tendons connect with the bones.

Usually, bone spurs go unnoticed for decades because they don't cause any symptoms. Treatment will depend on the location of the bone spurs and how much they are affecting the person's health. 
 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

As mentioned before, bone spurs don't cause any symptoms, and a person won’t notice that they have one unless they go through an X-ray for some other condition.

However, in some cases, bone spurs may cause loss of motion in the joints and pain in the joint.

a person will feel pain where the spur has occurred, and the location of the spur will also determine the other symptoms, for example:

 

  • If someone has bone spurs in their knee, it may hurt them to stretch or bend their knee, meaning that the spurs can disable a person's bones and tendons that keep their knee functioning smoothly.
  • If someone has bone spurs in their spine, the spurs can press against the nerves or even the spinal cord, causing pain and numbness elsewhere in the body.
  • If someone has bone spurs in their neck, cervical bone spurs can protrude inward making it difficult to swallow or painful to breath; they can also restrict blood flow to the brain if they push against veins.
  • If someone has bone spurs in their shoulder(s), the spurs can limit the scope of motion of their arm, rub on their rotator cuff, a group of tendons that help control shoulder movements, causing tears in the rotator cuff and swelling (tendinitis).
  • If someone has bone spurs on their fingers appearing as hard lumps under the skin, the spurs can make the fingers look disfigured and might cause sporadic pain.
     

Causes:

Bone spurs are usually the result of another disease or condition, most commonly osteoarthritis.
As osteoarthritis crushes the cartilage in a joint, the body tries to fix the loss by creating new areas of bone along the edges of the existing bones.

Bone spurs are the hallmark of other diseases or conditions like:

Spondylosis:

Degeneration of the bones in the neck (cervical spondylosis) or lower back (lumbar spondylosis) could be a result of osteoarthritis and bone spurs.

Plantar fasciitis:

Sometimes called heel spur, bone spurs can form where the connective tissue (fascia) joins the heel bone (calcaneus). The chronic inflammation and irritation of the connective tissue results in spurs, but the spur itself does not cause pain related to plantar fasciitis.

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH):

This situation leads to bony growth on the ligaments of the spine.

Spinal stenosis:

The spinal cord may be pressured due to bone spurs that result from the narrowing of the bones that form the spine.

A normal part of aging:

As a part of aging, bone spurs can occur on their own. Older people who don't have osteoarthritis or other disease can develop spurs.

To add constancy to aging joints, the body creates bone spurs. They may help redistribute a person's weight to shield areas of cartilage that are beginning to collapse. For some people, instead of being a painful condition or disadvantage, bone spurs can be beneficial.
 

Complications

Complications:

When bone spurs break off from the larger bone source, they become loose bodies. Loose bone spurs usually float in the joint or become embedded in the lining of the joint (synovium).
Loose bodies can slid into the spaces between the bones that make up the joint, blocking their way and causing intermittent locking, a feeling that something is hindering the person from moving their joint. As the loose bodies move into and out of the way of the joint, the joint locking can come and go.
 

Treatments:

Bone spurs don't have a specific treatment.

If the joints are moving freely without any pain or strain, the person probably won’t need any treatment.  Thus, to prevent further joint damage, the treatment is typically directed at the underlying problem.

MEDICATIONS:

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended by the doctor if the spurs are causing pain.

SURGERY:

Spurs that limit joint movement range or cause disability in the person's daily activities might require surgery. Depending on where the bone spurs are located and the patient's situation, surgical options vary. 

For example:

For arthritis, spurs are often removed as part of a more comprehensive surgery.
For arthritis in the elbow, while making other repairs for the elbow, the surgeon can also remove the bone spurs.

In an open procedure in which the surgeon cuts open the skin around the joint to access it, bone spurs could be removed. The removal of bone spurs could be done arthroscopically; in which the surgeon makes a few small pricks to insert surgical tools. A tiny camera is used to peer into the joint during an arthroscopic surgery.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

Expert's opinion

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Consultants Corner

Dr. Samer Al-Jneidy

Dr. Samer Al-Jneidy Pediatrician

Yaser Habrawi , F.R.C.S.Ed

Yaser Habrawi , F.R.C.S.Ed Consultant Ophthalmologist

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