Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes (bone spurs) are bony prominences along the edges of bones.
Most of these cases occur in areas where bones meet other bones, namely near joints, such as the neck, shoulders, knees, fingers or big toe, and heels. However, it can also form on the spine.
The formation of this fine bone develops over a long period of time. In general, this condition causes no symptoms early in development, so it often goes undetected for years.
Sufferers are more likely to find out about this bone problem when they accidentally do an examination because of other health problems.
How common is this condition?
According to the Cleveland Clinic website, bone spurs are a common condition. Especially in people aged 60 years and over. However, it is possible that younger people can also experience it due to bone and joint problems, such as arthritis.
Signs & symptoms of bone spurs
Most osteophytes do not cause signs or symptoms. You may not notice this condition until imaging tests for other conditions reveal its growth.
However, in some cases, this bone problem can cause pain and decreased movement around the affected bone. This condition indicates that bone growth has put pressure on nearby nerves or rubs against bone or other tissues.
Following are the specific symptoms of bone spurs based on which area of the bone is affected.
- Knee. The appearance of fine bones in the knee bones can cause pain when you straighten or bend your leg.
- Spine. This bone problem can narrow the space in the spinal cord. It can even pinch the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing weakness or numbness in the arms or legs.
- Hips. Bone spurs in the hip will cause pain, even down to the knee. Your mobility will also decrease over time.
Other accompanying symptoms
In addition, there are also other symptoms of bone spurs that you may feel, such as:
- If you carefully touch the problem bone area, you may feel a jagged or bumpy area.
- You will also feel stiffness, swelling of nearby tendons, or a tear in the tendon. Tendons are thick tissues that serve to attach muscles to bones.
When should you see a doctor?
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms or have any questions, consult your doctor. Especially if you have swelling, pain in the bones near the joints, and difficulty moving.
Causes of bone spurs
The main cause of bone spurs is damage to the joints due to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that causes joint inflammation due to the breakdown of cartilage.
Cartilage is a flexible tissue that protects bones and allows joints to move more easily. When osteoarthritis occurs, these bones become worn and damaged.
When the body tries to repair cartilage, it creates new bone material instead. Well, this new bone growth is what you know as osteophytes (bone spurs).
Cartilage breakdown can occur for many reasons, but sports injuries and aging are the most common.
Other possible causes
In addition, another cause of bone disease is ankylosing spondylitis (ankylosing spondylitis). This is a rare type of arthritis that affects the spine.
People with this condition have problems with the small bones that make up the spine (vertebrates). This condition sends a signal to the body to form new bone in the spine.
Bone spur risk factors
Bone spurs can happen to anyone. However, people with arthritis (inflammation of the joints) have a higher risk of developing this bone problem. In addition, the age group that is susceptible to this disease is the elderly over 60 years.
How to diagnose this condition?
Without symptoms, you may accidentally find new bone formation at the edges of these bones during X-rays or other tests for different conditions.
However, if you experience symptoms that suggest bone problems, such as bone spurs, your doctor will ask you to do a series of medical tests, including:
- ask what symptoms you feel and see your medical history and family,
- Perform a physical examination, such as knowing the pain and discomfort in the bones,
- take tests of your range of motion and joint strength, as well as
- undergoing imaging tests, such as x-rays to detect inflammation in the joint as well as the growth of spurs, or an MRI to see the condition of damaged ligaments and tendons.
What are the treatments for bone spurs?
Osteophyte treatment will be tailored to the patient’s condition. If there are no symptoms, treatment is usually not needed. However, the doctor will still recommend appropriate lifestyle changes so that the condition does not get worse.
Treatment for symptomatic patients
Meanwhile, if the patient feels symptoms, such as pain, the doctor will prescribe pain relievers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Balance also with lifestyle changes as recommended by the doctor. You should only take medication when symptoms appear. That means you don’t need to take medication every day.
Tell your doctor if you have stomach problems. The reason is, the use of pain relievers causes side effects on the stomach, so doctors will choose drugs that are more friendly to the stomach.
If you have followed treatment, but the symptoms do not disappear, surgery can be an option. The goal, to eliminate excessive bone growth.
You will also need to undergo physical therapy to improve the body’s ability to return to normal movements.
Treatment of bone spurs at home
In addition to doctor or hospital treatment, patients also take home remedies, such as:
- Reduce pain by using a cold compress. Place the compress on the skin, the area that feels pain, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Do not paste more than the recommended time.
- Adjust sports activities, for example, choosing to take a leisurely walk instead of running and follow safe rules in exercising. Don’t force yourself to exercise if you’re not feeling well.
- Enough rest, drink water, and maintain nutritional needs, by eating healthy nutritious foods.