Bone spurs, known as Osteophytes, are bony lumps that develop along the edges of bones. They often form where the bones meet- in the joints. They can also form on the bones of an individual’s spine. Bone spurs are most often found in the neck, shoulder, knee, lower back, fingers or big toe and foot.
Most bone spurs do not present any signs or symptoms. An individual might not even realize they have bone spurs until an X-ray reveals the growths. However, there are specific symptoms that can present themselves depending on where the bone spurs are. Examples include:
- Knee: painful extension and bending of the leg
- Spine: pinching of the spinal cord and weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
- Hip: painful or restricted movement of the hip joint
- Shoulder: swelling and tears in the rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons that help control shoulder movements)
- Fingers: hard lumps on the joints of an individual’s fingers
The main cause of bone spurs is damage to the joints associated with osteoarthritis. As osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage protecting the ends of the bones, the body in attempt to repair the loss, creates bone spurs near the damaged area. Most bone spurs cause no symptoms and may go undetected for years. They may not require treatment. Decisions about treatment depend on where spurs are situated and how they affect an individual’s health.