What is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur, also know as osteophyte, is a projection of a bone (bony projection) that develops and grows along the edge of joints.  Bone spurs are fairly common in people over the age of 60.  It is not the bone spur itself that is the real problem, but the pain and inflammation which begin to occur when the bone spur rubs against nerves and bones.

Bone Spur of the Spine – Bone spurs can affect several parts of the body, but the most common parts affected by bone spurs are the neck (cervical spine), low back (lumbar spine), shoulder, hip, knee, and heel. There are a number of common spinal conditions related to the development of bone spurs such as osteoarthritis, cervical radiculopathy, lumbar radiculopathy, and spinal stenosis.

Bone Spurs of the Spine

Bone Spur Causes

As we age, the discs in our spine naturally degenerate and lose some of their natural shock-absorbing (defensive) ability.  Common factors that contribute to this process include stress, injury, poor posture, poor nutrition, and family history.

It is not uncommon for people with osteoarthritis to get bone spurs. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which joint cartilage begins to wear down, causing bone to rub against bone. As a result, the body may begin to produce new bone to protect against this, which is how a bone spur forms.

Bone Spur Symptoms

  • Back and neck pain
  • Pain radiating through an arm and/or leg
  • Prominent lumps on the hands, feet or spine
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Muscle cramps