How to Know if You Have a Bone Spur

How to Know if You Have a Bone Spur

Bone spurs develop on the outside of bones, most often where the two bones connect to each other. These bony projections, often referred to as osteophytes, are also at risk to form on the vertebrae.

At American Spine, we believe in treating each of our patients individually, rather than using a template type diagnosis process. Bone spurs, while most often the result of degenerative causes, are different in each patient, and our compassionate medical staff understands the importance of producing effective and efficient results.

Bone spurs are tricky because they can do unnoticed for years. We are unable to visually see them develop and don’t realize their existence until treatment is required. However, not all bone spurs require treatment. Depending on where the bone spur is located and how it has affected a patient’s health can better establish whether treatment is necessary.

In the events that bone spurs require treatment, they may produce pain and reduced mobility in the joints. Some common locations and symptoms of bone spurs are:

  • Spine. These osteophytes can cause a narrowing of the vertebrae and pinch nerve roots. When this occurs, patients will feel weakness and numbness in the legs and arms.
  • Knee. When bone spurs develop in the knee, bending, walking, and running will seem impossible. The knee becomes compromised because these bone growths grow in the way of other bones and tendons.
  • Shoulder. The rotator cuff, the muscles and tendons that control the shoulder, may be at risk of bone spurs. When they develop, the spurs rub on the rotator cuff and can cause swelling (tendinitis) and tears.

If an individual has pain or swelling in a joint as well as difficulty moving, they may be affected by a bone spur. In this event, a patient should seek medical attention immediately. The most common cause of bone spurs is osteoarthritis and degenerative means. As we get older, our bones weaken and the cartilage on our bones breaks down. The body attempts to make up for the bone loss by creating bone spurs in the affected area.

Treating bone spurs isn’t always easy. They can break off from a bigger bone and become “loose bodies.” When this occurs, the bone spurs will essentially float around in the joint or be inserted in the synovium lining. If the loose body floats into the areas of the joint, it can cause intermittent locking. This is when a person feels like they cannot move their joint.

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246)

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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