Bone Spurs: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Bone Spurs: What They Are, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options


Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony growths that form on the edges of bones. They are a common condition and are often associated with aging and wear and tear on the joints. Bone spurs can occur in any joint in the body, but they are most common in the spine, knees, hips, and shoulders.

Causes of Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are caused by the body’s natural response to injury or stress on a joint. When a joint is injured, the body tries to repair itself by laying down new bone. This new bone can sometimes form in a way that creates a spur. Bone spurs can also be caused by:

  • Aging: As we age, our joints naturally wear down. This wear and tear can lead to the formation of bone spurs.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on the joints, which can lead to the formation of bone spurs.
  • Genetics: Some people are more likely to develop bone spurs than others. This is likely due to the way their bones are shaped and how they move.
  • Certain medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, can also increase the risk of developing bone spurs.

Symptoms of Bone Spurs

Bone spurs often do not cause any symptoms. However, if a bone spur is large enough, it can press on nearby nerves or tissues, which can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. Bone spurs can also make it difficult to move the joint.

Diagnosis of Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are usually diagnosed with an x-ray. An x-ray can show the size and location of the bone spur. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be necessary to get a better view of the bone spur.

Treatment Options for Bone Spurs

Treatment for bone spurs depends on the severity of the symptoms. If the bone spur is not causing any symptoms, treatment is usually not necessary. However, if the bone spur is causing pain or other symptoms, there are several treatment options available.

  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve pain and inflammation caused by bone spurs.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion and reduce pain.
  • Injections: Injections of corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a bone spur. Surgery is usually only recommended if other treatments have not been successful.

Preventing Bone Spurs

There is no sure way to prevent bone spurs, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing them.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on the joints, which can lead to the formation of bone spurs.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise helps to keep the joints healthy and flexible.
  • Avoid activities that put stress on the joints: Activities that involve repetitive motions or heavy lifting can put stress on the joints and increase the risk of developing bone spurs.
  • Use proper footwear: Wearing shoes that provide good support can help to reduce stress on the joints.
  • Stretch before exercise: Stretching before exercise helps to warm up the muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
  • See a doctor if you have joint pain: If you have joint pain, see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the pain.


Bone spurs are a common condition that can cause pain and other symptoms. However, there are a number of treatment options available to help relieve the symptoms of bone spurs. If you have bone spurs, talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

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