Bone Spurs

Bone spurs (also called osteophytes) are smooth, hard bumps of extra bone that form on the ends of bones. They often pop up in the joints – where two bones meet.

Bone spurs can form on many parts of your body, including your feet or heels.
Most bone spurs don’t cause problems. But if they rub against other bones or press on nerves, you might experience pain and stiffness.


The most common cause of bone spurs is joint damage from osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. The cushioning between your joints and the bones of your spine can wear down with age. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and goutcan also damage your joints.
Bone spurs also often form after an injury to a joint or tendon. When your body thinks your bone is damaged, it tries to fix it by adding bone to the injured area.
Other causes of bone spurs include:

  • Injuries
  • Overuse – for example, if you run or dance a lot over a long period of time
  • Genes
  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Bone problems that you were born with


Bone Spurs only cause problems when they press on nerves, tendons, or other structures in your body. You might feel:

  • Pain in the affected joint
  • Pain or stiffness when you try to bend or move the affected joint
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling
  • Muscle spasms, cramps, or weakness
  • Bumps under your skin, seen mainly in the hands and fingers

Your symptoms might get worse when you exercise or try to move the affected joint.
A bone spur can break off and get stuck in the lining of the joint. This is called a “loose body.”It can lock up the joint and make it hard to move.

Potential Treatments

If the bone spur affects your movement, you might need surgery to remove the extra bone.

If you catch and treat arthritis early, you may be able to prevent the damage that leads to bone spurs. You can also take steps to avoid other causes of bone spurs including:

  • Wear shoes with a wide toe box, good arch support, and enough cushion to pad each step. Get your shoes fitted by a professional so they don’t rub against your feet when you walk. Wear thick socks to prevent your shoes from rubbing
  • Eat a well-rounded diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones
  • Do regular weight-bearing exercises like walking or stair-climbing to keep your bones strong
  • Try to maintain a healthy body weight

See your doctor if you have any signs of joint trouble, like pain, swelling, or stiffness.

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