What Are Bone Spurs?

What Are Bone Spurs?

Despite the name, bone spurs aren’t jagged or spiky. However, they may dig or rub against a nerve or soft tissue, causing pain. 

At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our experienced physicians, Dr. Ojedapo‌ ‌Ojeyemi ‌and‌ Dr. Matthew Roh, know that the best way to treat pain is finding the cause. Here, our team explains what bone spurs are, how you get them, and why they cause pain.

About bone spurs

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a bump of extra bone that grows over time. They’re smooth and round and typically form at a joint, along the edge where the bones meet. 

You can develop bone spurs on any bone, but they most often occur on bones in the feet, spine, knees, and hips. Bone spurs themselves don’t cause pain, and it’s possible to have these growths and not know it. However, they can irritate soft tissue or nerves, causing pain.

The type of pain you feel with bone spurs depends on their location. For example, bone spurs may cause knee pain when you bend or extend your knee. In the spine, the bony growths may rub or irritate a spinal nerve root, causing back pain or neck pain that radiates into your arms or legs. 

Causes of bone spurs

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of bone spurs. Called wear-and-tear arthritis, OA is a degenerative condition that causes joint pain and inflammation because of the wearing away of the cartilage that separates the joints. When your body tries to repair the worn down cartilage, it creates the bony growths ― bone spurs. 

OA is the most common type of arthritis. It may affect any joint in the body, but it most often occurs in the joints you rely on, like your hips, knees, and spine

Unfortunately, there’s no true-and-tried way to prevent bone spurs. But taking steps to keep your joints healthy — like getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight — may help slow down the degeneration of the cartilage that causes bone spurs. 

Managing bone spurs

So, what do you do if you have bone spurs? Nothing, if they don’t bother you. But if you have bone spurs that cause pain, our pain management team recommends:

If medical interventions fail to ease the pain caused by your bone spurs, our orthopedic surgeon or spine surgeon may recommend surgery to remove the bony growths that are irritating surrounding tissue. 

In most people, bone spurs cause no problems. But if your bone spurs are a source of pain for you, we can help. Contact Orthopedic & Wellness at the location convenient to you to schedule an appointment with us today. You can call the office or use our online booking tool.

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