At the offices of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we see many patients who are troubled by bone spurs. Though bone spurs, known medically as osteophytes, are common, the majority of them cause no symptoms. When bone spurs do cause pain, our skilled doctors, physiatrists who specialize in pain management and restoration of function, have several nonsurgical treatment plans that can provide relief.
If you are suffering joint or back pain you suspect may be the result of a bone spur, make an appointment at one of our conveniently located Long Island offices. Our practice is well-known for diagnostic accuracy and for having a wide variety of traditional and complementary medical techniques that lead to highly successful outcomes. Take a look at the glowing testimonials of our grateful patients; you will no doubt find them convincing and reassuring.
What exactly are bone spurs?
Bone spurs are projections of bone that develop along the edges of bones where they meet — in the spine and in the joints. As previously noted, bone spurs can go undetected for years or can result in painful symptoms. Much depends on their size and location, and on the particulars of the patient’s lifestyle.
Causes of Bone Spurs
The primary cause is joint damage related to osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition most commonly tied to aging. Wear and tear causes the cartilage that cushions the ends of our bones to erode, leaving the bones to rub directly against one another. The more the bones are damaged, the more likely the body is to attempt to repair them by producing extra bone tissue. This leads to the formation of bone spurs.
Other reasons bone spurs may develop include:
- Congenital abnormality
- Traumatic injury to a joint due to a sports-related or motor vehicle accident
- Excessive use of a joint (repetitive stress)
- Lifestyle (e.g. unbalanced diet, poor posture, lack of exercise, unsupportive shoes)
- Other types of arthritic or spinal conditions
While bone spurs are extremely common in individuals 60 years of age or older — more than 40 percent of whom will develop bone spurs that require medical treatment — younger people, especially those with premature osteoarthritis, may also be troubled by the condition.
Bones spurs begin to cause symptoms when they put pressure on nearby nerves or restrict movement by rubbing against other bones or tissues in the surrounding area. Because bone spurs continue to grow, they may irritate adjacent tendons and ligaments. At this point, patients may detect:
- Knobby or bumpy areas, especially in the fingers or toes.
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness, especially in the legs (due to spinal spurs)
- Pain in or near the impacted joint or pain when standing or walking
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- Radiating pain in the shoulders, buttocks, and thighs
- Stiffness or reduced range of motion in the joint
- Tendonitis (swelling and pain of a nearby tendon)
- Tendon tears (e.g. a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder)
- Spinal stenosis when the spinal canal is narrowed by the presence of bone spurs, putting pressure on spinal nerves
Though protrusions like cowboy boot spurs, bone spurs are not sharp. Even so, they manage to cause a great deal of pain, weakness, and lack of mobility. Generally speaking, activity will make bone spur pain worse and rest will alleviate it.
Common Locations of Bone Spurs
The pain caused by bone spurs is usually experienced at the site of the bone spur, but on occasion can be “referred” to other areas of the body as in some of the following examples:
- Bone spurs in the knee make both extending and bending the leg painful.
- Spinal bone spurs on the vertebrae may not only cause stenosis but may also result in weakness of the arms or legs.
- Bone spurs in the hip cause hip or knee pain and can reduce the range of motion in the hip.
- Bone spurs in the heel cause pain in the heel and foot, though it is worth noting that though 1 in 10 people has a heel spur, only 1 in 20 experiences pain due to its existence.
If you are having pain in any of the above locations, especially if that pain is severe and/or accompanied by difficulty moving, this is the time to call us for an appointment.
The doctors at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation are accomplished diagnosticians. When you consult with us, we will take a comprehensive medical history, perform a physical examination, and may take blood tests to rule out systemic causes for your discomfort.
We have access to cutting-edge diagnostic tests to check for bone spurs, such as:
- X-rays and other imaging tests, like CT and MRI scans and ultrasound
- EMG and nerve conduction studies to show evidence of nerve injury
- Epidural steroid injections to pinpoint the location of a bone spur
Once we determine whether you have a bone spur and, if so, precisely where it is located, our focus will be on bringing you rapid relief.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we always begin with conservative treatments.
Rest and administration of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin or ibuprofen), possibly with the addition of a muscle relaxant, may greatly improve your condition. Beyond this, our trained professionals may prescribe:
- Injections of a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic
- Physical therapy and manipulation of joints to strengthen surrounding muscles
- PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy to accelerate healing
- PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy) to reduce inflammation and increase circulation
- Acupuncture to reduce inflammation and promote healing
Under the rare circumstances that your bone spur may require surgical removal, we will refer you to a well-respected colleague who specializes in the type of surgery you need. Our fine clinicians have a history of providing relief to patients of all ages and physical conditions.
Contact Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Today
If you live in Nassau or Western Suffolk, one of our offices is accessible to you. Why continue to suffer from bone spurs or other spinal or musculoskeletal problems when competent, caring help is available? We will treat you as a whole person, with kindness as well as medical skill. Our primary goal is to make you feel better as quickly as possible.