Bone spurs could cause pain throughout the body. There are some treatment options.
What are Bone Spurs?
A bone spur, also known as an osteophyte, is a bony projection that forms along the edge of the bone, often “where bones meet each other…(the) joints”. Bone spurs can occur around the knee, spine, hip, shoulder, and fingers.1 Symptoms include tenderness, weakness, pain, and numbness. If they don’t cause symptoms, bone spurs are typically left untreated. They arise in areas that are inflamed, such as regions with tendonitis and degenerative arthritis (or osteoarthritis). Inflammation causes the bone-forming cells to be stimulated, leading them to “deposit bone in the area”. Eventually, a “bony prominence or spur” develops. This commonly occurs in the spine as well as in the heel. Another area known for bone spurs is the bottom of the foot, as plantar fasciitis could trigger the creation of a bone spur. Sometimes they are called “heel spurs”.2 Bone spurs are the body’s way of trying to “repair itself by building extra bone”. Stress, rubbing, and pressure cause them, as does the “aging process”. Another way to bring on bone spurs is by wearing shoes that do not fit well. The planta fascia at the bottom of the foot may become stressed and tight, pulling on the heel and inflaming the ligament. When the bone heals, the spur develops. If the spur is located on the bottom of the heel, it is a heel spur, but when it is located on the back of the heel, it is called a “pump bump”, due to the fact that it is caused often by high heels.3 A complication of bone spurs is when they break off of the bone and become “loose bodies”. They might become embedded in the joint’s lining or float in the joint, causing “intermittent locking” of the joint.4
There are plantar fasciitis treatments and there are also plantar fasciitis exercises that can be performed by patients, if the heel spurs are causing pain. In addition, patients may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine, cortisone injections, and custom orthotics. Sometimes surgery is necessary.5 Bone spurs are common in aging, especially along the spine, and are typically asymptomatic. They indicate degeneration, but they are not necessarily the reason for patients’ back pain. Bone spurs are actually “smooth structures that form over…time”. Bone spur growth can accelerate due to heredity, nutrition, poor posture, poor ergonomics, and trauma (sports, car accidents, etc.). Exercises and strengthening are important to health. Having good posture is also crucial.6 When bone spurs cause pain, patients may feel it in the lower back, neck, shoulders, with headaches, down the lumbar spine to the thighs, in the arms and legs, or even with bladder or bowel incontinence (due to nerve compression).7 Besides rest and medications, chiropractic adjustments can assist patients with rehabilitation. Chiropractic, along with prescribed stretches and exercises, may improve posture and “restore flexibility and strength” to the back and neck, reducing compression on the nerves.8