What you need to know about bone spurs | Gleneagles Hospitals

What you need to know about bone spurs

Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony growths that develop on the edges of bones. Although bone spurs can grow from any bone in the body, here are the most common areas:

  • Back
  • Sole or heel of the foot
  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Shoulder
  • Neck
  • Spine

Causes of bone spurs

The causes of bone spurs can vary depending on the location of the growth. Some of the common causes of bone spurs are:

  • Aging: Our bones can develop wear and tear as we age, and this leads to the development of bone spurs.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that can cause inflammation and damage to the joints, which can lead to the development of bone spurs.
  • Poor posture: Poor posture can put extra stress on certain joints, leading to the development of bone spurs.
  • Overuse or repetitive stress: Certain occupations or activities that involve repetitive stress on the joints, such as running or playing tennis, can cause bone spurs to form.

Symptoms of bone spurs

Since osteophytes are commonly harmless, you may not know you have bone spurs until you go for an X-ray for another reason. However, they can cause issues if they rub on bone or muscle, impede movement, or put pressure on nerves.

Symptoms of bone spurs may include:

  • Pain and stiffness
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Lumps on joints like fingers, ankles, and heel

Diagnosis of bone spurs

Your doctor would first question your general health and symptoms before conducting a thorough physical examination. Diagnosis is made based on your reported symptoms, physical examination, and investigations.

Your doctor may request an X-ray or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options for bone spurs

Most cases of osteophytes only need to be treated if they affect your daily activities. The appropriate treatment for you depends on the severity of your symptoms. When bone spurs are formed, they can rub against the cartilage and bones, causing damage and increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.

Bone spurs may also cause a decreased range of motion, making it more difficult to perform daily basic activities such as walking and going up and down the stairs. In some cases, the bone spurs may compress nearby nerves causing pain and numbness. They may also irritate nearby tendons, causing tendinitis.

Some treatment options include:

  • Rest: To ease pain and inflammation.
  • Medication: Pain and swelling can be managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Steroid injection: To reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physiotherapy: Range of motion exercises only after the acute pain and swelling have subsided.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be required if the options above do not relieve symptoms.

Prevention of bone spurs

Some recommended lifestyle practices that you can incorporate in your daily routine include:

  • Have a well-balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Always wear proper footwear.
  • Practice and maintain a good posture.
  • Keep to an ideal weight to reduce pressure on your joints.

Make an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of bone spurs, get in touch with us to find out more about our Orthopaedic Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

Gleneagles Hospital works with orthopaedic specialists to assist patients through diagnosis and treatment. The caring and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals are available for consultation and to provide the best care.

Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
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+6088 518 911
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
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+603 4141 3018
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
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+604 222 9199
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+607 560 1111
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