Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony projections that form along the edges of bones. They often develop when the body tries to repair itself by creating extra bone growth in response to wear and tear, injury, or stress. Bone spurs can occur on any bone but are most common in joints with repetitive motion, such as our feet. In most cases, bone spurs do not cause symptoms and may go unnoticed until they are detected on an X-ray. If left untreated for some time, these bony protrusions can cause pain and discomfort because of their effect on surrounding soft tissues. This can lead to joint damage due to the constant rubbing against other bones or cartilage. Bone spurs may form due to various conditions, such as degenerative joint diseases like arthritis, muscle strain, or injury, due to overuse or improper alignment of active muscles and ligaments around a joint structure. Additionally, wear and tear are also caused by natural aging, which can contribute to the formation of bone spurs. Treatment for bone spurs usually begins with rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. A podiatrist can often assist through examination and thus recommend various actions based on the severity of the bone spur. Physical therapy is sometimes necessary to help improve joint mobility, strength, and flexibility. Surgical intervention may be necessary in more serious cases where pain persists despite all conservative treatments. The options available are to surgically remove the spur altogether or cut away at its edges to the point that they no longer rub against nearby structures, causing discomfort.
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