Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are tiny projections of bone that sometimes occur along your bones' edges. The bone spurs may cause pain when they rub against other bones or nerves that are nearby. Bone spurs most commonly occur where two bones meet each other at the joints. However, bone spurs may occur along your spinal bones or in areas where your tendons and ligaments connect to the bone. Treatment of bone spurs depends on where the bone spurs occur, and what impact the spurs have on your overall health.
You can treat most bone spurs with over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs may help to reduce swelling and pain from the bone spurs. Also, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help with discomfort. Treatment with medication is usually limited to four or six weeks to reduce the chance of prescription medication dependence.
Bone spurs that affect daily living activities may require surgery. Your physician may remove the bone spurs using either an open procedure with one long incision, or through an arthroscopic procedure performed through several small incisions. The doctor will use an incision to insert surgical instruments and a video camera to complete the procedure.
Weight loss may help to reduce pain associated with bone spurs by taking some extra pressure off your joints. Physical therapy consisting of deep tissue massage and ultrasound may help reduce pain and inflammation. You also may need rest when the pain become intense. When bone spurs affect your heels, extra padding in your shoes may help to alleviate discomfort. Your doctor also may treat symptoms of bone spurs with corticosteroid injections. These injections reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.