What causes a bone spur?

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dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Bone spurs are relatively common and the incidence increases as we age. They are usually due to some trauma sustained by the joints (articulations) or disease of the joints. Some authors argue that their formation is a normal part of the aging process.

The body forms these spurs as a protective mechanism to the joint that was injured. They serve to protect the cartilage in the specific area and provide stability to the joint. Some people have pain associated with the spur but commonly they are asymptomatic and only diagnosed on x-ray. When the spurs are painful this usually means they are pressing on a nerve.

Bone spurs are called osteophytes, small abnormal pointed growths on the bone edges. Most spurs require no treatment, but a small percentage of people may seek the advice of an orthopedist. Many of these people benefit from physical therapy to strengthen the joints.

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Bone spurs are bony projections that develop around the edges of bones. The actual bone spur itself is not painful but it can be very painful when the spur rubs against nearby nerves and bones.

Bone spurs are also called osteophytes and can form on any bone. Most bone spurs cause no symptoms and can go undetected for many years. Treatment of bone spurs depends on where it is located and symptoms. Bone spurs can cause pain especially when they are located in or around joints, which can sometimes cause a loss of motion.

Bone spurs usually occur as a result from another illness or disease, most commonly osteoarthritis. The natural aging process also causes bone spurs. Some other causes of bone spurs are diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, plantar fasciitis, spondylosis, and spinal stenosis.


ako6777's profile pic

ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

A bone spur is a tiny growth of bone on top of normal bone.  A bone spur is the body's response to some kind of trauma.  The trauma could be due to pressure, rubbing or stress that continues over a long period of time. The spur is usually smooth and can cause pain.  The pain is typically due to the growth pressing on the soft tissues of the body such as ligaments, tendons, and nerves.  The most common places for spurs are in the feet, shoulders, spine, knees, hands, and hips. 

I have suffered from a heel spur for many years.  When I was younger I did not wear the best shoes and this tended to irritate the spur.  This was because the spur was due to the tissues in the bottom of my foot straining.  With the proper heel support this would not have been a problem.  I now wear shoes with adequate arch support. The results of not having the arch support was inflammation and difficulty walking. 

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