Categories: Blog, Featured, News
Categories: Blog, Featured, News


Bone Spurs | Mobility Bone and Joint

Bone spurs are growths that develop on the edges of bones and joints. These growths can happen in your heel, ankle, shoulder, hip, knee, or spine. Research shows that spurs increase with age, with over 45% of occurrences in people over 60. This highlights the importance of understanding the causes and signs of this condition.

Here’s an overview of bone spurs to help you better understand and treat them.

What Is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a projection that forms along the edges of bones. Primarily composed of calcium, these growths develop gradually over time due to repetitive stress, strain, or injury to the bones. While they often sound intimidating, bone spurs themselves aren’t inherently harmful. In fact, many people have them without even knowing it. However, they can sometimes impinge on surrounding tissues, leading to discomfort and limitations. 

Causes of Bone Spurs

While the exact cause of bone spurs is unclear, they are generally the body’s response to long-term pressure, rubbing, or stress. This can lead to microscopic tears in the tissues surrounding the bone, triggering the body’s repair mechanism to create extra bone. For example, they may form in the feet due to tight ligaments, high-impact activities, or excessive weight. Additionally, repetitive use of certain joints, as seen in the shoulder, can lead to bone spur formation. Aging can also play a significant role, as osteoarthritis-related joint wear and tear can develop bone spurs.

Tips to Prevent Bone Spurs

While it’s not possible to completely control bone spur development, there are ways to minimize the risk:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts added pressure on joints, increasing the likelihood of bone spur formation. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help alleviate strain on your joints.
  • Practice Good Posture: Proper posture can help distribute weight evenly across your joints, reducing excessive wear and tear.
  • Wear Appropriate Footwear: Choosing supportive footwear with adequate cushioning can help reduce stress on your feet and lower limbs. This can decrease the likelihood of developing bone spurs in these areas.
  • Stay Active: Regular exercise can strengthen muscles, improve joint flexibility, and reduce the risk of joint degeneration associated with bone spur formation. Note that it’s necessary to avoid overuse and opt for low-impact activities if pain arises.

Signs to Seek a Doctor

It’s important to note that not everyone with bone spurs will experience symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary widely among individuals. If you experience these signs, it might be time to see a doctor:

  • Pain: Persistent pain, especially around a joint, is a key indicator of a potential bone spur issue. Movement or pressure on the joint can increase the pain. It could also vary in intensity depending on the size and location of the spur.
  • Stiffness: Bone spurs can limit joint movement, making bending or straightening your limb difficult. This stiffness can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as bending, squatting, or walking comfortably.
  • Swelling: In some cases, bone spurs may cause visible bumps or deformities on the surface of the skin, particularly in areas where they are close to the skin’s surface. These protrusions may be tender to the touch and can interfere with the proper function of the affected joint.
  • Numbness: Bone spurs that compress nearby nerves can lead to sensations of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area. These symptoms may radiate from the site of the bone spur and may worsen with movement or pressure on the affected nerve.


If you suspect you have a bone spur, your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include:

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will assess your symptoms and medical history. They will then perform a physical examination to evaluate the affected joint.
  • Imaging Tests: Doctors could order X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to visualize the bone spur and identify its size and location. Imaging can also show if there’s associated damage to surrounding tissues.


While some individuals may not require active treatment, those experiencing pain or tissue damage may benefit from conservative measures like rest, ice application, and supportive footwear. Based on your spur’s severity, treatment options may include:

  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain and inflammation drugs can help reduce pain. In severe cases, doctors can prescribe corticosteroid injections to provide localized pain relief.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches can help improve joint flexibility, strengthen supporting muscles, and alleviate pressure on the affected area.
  • Orthotic Devices: Custom orthotics or supportive braces can provide stability and reduce strain on the affected joint.
  • Surgery: In some cases, particularly when conservative methods fail, surgery might be considered to remove the bone spur. However, this is usually a last resort due to potential risks and recovery time.

Final Words

Bone spurs, while sometimes inconvenient, don’t have to dictate your life. By understanding their causes, prevention strategies, and treatment options, you can effectively manage them. It’s important to remember that early diagnosis and proactive measures are vital to maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. If you suspect you have a bone spur or are experiencing joint pain, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

At Mobility Bone and Joint Institute, our team of experienced orthopedists understands the challenges of bone spurs. We offer personalized, holistic care to address bone spurs and their underlying causes. Our team has experience handling a range of orthopedic problems. Call (978) 794-1946 or visit us to take a proactive step towards nurturing your bones and joints.

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