Bone Spur, also called Osteophyte, is a bony formation on normal bone. Many people associate the word spur with something sharp but in reality, this one is just an extra bone that is actually smooth, although it can cause pain as well as wear and tear if it constantly rubs on other bones or soft tissues. Bone spurs may appear in the spine, shoulders, hips, knees, feet and hands.
Many people wonder what may be causing this condition. Often, it forms when the body tries to repair itself. It does that by building an extra bone as a response to overtime pressure, stress or rubbing.
In other cases, it occurs as a part of the aging process. When people age, the slipper tissue known as cartilage which serves as a protective cover for the ends of the bones within the joints breaks down and wears away. The discs that provide cushioning also break down over time. There are pain and swelling as a result along with the formation of spurs on the edges of joint.
Another common cause of bone spurs are tight ligaments due to physical activities like dancing and running. These activities put pressure on the feet. Pressure may also come from excess weight and poorly fitted shoes.
- Heel Spur
For instance, the plantar fascia which is the long ligament located on the bottom of the foot becomes stressed or tight due to a physical activity. When that happens, the bone will try to mend itself and this causes for a bone spur to form on the bottom of the heel. This is one type of bone spur that is called heel spur.
- Pump Bump
Meanwhile, the pressure at the back of the heel from wearing tight shoes leads to the formation of bone spur at the back of the heel. This is known as pump bump, since it's common among women who wear high heels.
Rotator Cuff Disorder due to Overuse, Rub and Wear
The feet are not the only areas where bone spurs occur. They also commonly take place in the shoulders. As you probably know, the shoulder joint can move in various directions because of its complex structure. After a while, the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that comprise the shoulder may rub and wear one another. When there is an irritation due to overuse of the shoulder joints, bone spurs may form and cause inflammation, weakness, pain, stiffness, and tearing of tendon in the area. This condition is otherwise known as rotator cuff disorder. Athletes especially baseball players are prone to this condition.
Discovering Bone Spur With and Without Symptoms
Some people have bone spurs without experiencing any symptoms. However, if the bony formation presses on other tissues or bones, this can lead to symptoms like pain, tearing and swelling. Bone spurs that have formed in the foot can cause corns and calluses. This is due to the fact that tissue builds up to provide additional cushioning for the bony growth.
Bone spurs are visible on X-rays. However, since many cases of bone spurs don't exhibit any symptoms, it's quite uncommon for people to just have an X-ray to see if he/she has this condition. Often, this is discovered by surprise when a person gets an X-ray for other conditions like arthritis.