What Causes a Bone Spur?

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Bone spurs are a common condition, occurring more often as we age. They are usually caused by disease in the joint, but can be the result of an injury or inflammation. Bone spurs seem to be a natural part of the aging process, an effort by our bodies to protect an injured area. While bone spurs can be painful, often they exhibit no symptoms and are only discovered on X-ray or a similar test.

What Are Bone Spurs?

Osteophytes, also called bone spurs, are small pointed growths on the edge of a bone. Most bone spurs will cause no symptoms, although some may be painful depending on their position.

Bone Spurs Caused By Aging

Bone spurs are often a natural part of the aging process. They can form as we age for no reason. In some cases, bone spurs benefit the body by providing stability to aging joints and protecting cartilage that is aging or diseased.

Bone Spurs Caused by Inflammation or Injury

Bone spurs can grow in areas of recent injury or inflammation of cartilage or tendon. Bone spurs due to injury often occur in the heel of the foot, in the back near damaged discs and around joints with cartilage damage. The bone spurs grow to help protect the injured area.

Bone Spurs Caused by Disease

Bone spurs are usually the result of the disease process of osteoarthritis. Arthritis breaks down the cartilage in the joint and bone spurs can grow in these damaged areas. Other diseases can also cause bone spurs. Heel spurs can be caused by Plantar fascitis, a chronic inflammation of the connective tissue in the heel. Bone spurs in the back and neck can be caused by Spondylosis, a disease that causes degeneration of these bones. Areas of inflammation or degeneration are prone to the growth of bone spurs.

Where Do Bone Spurs Occur?

Any area of joint inflammation, injury or damage is prone to bone spur growth. Heel spurs, back and neck spurs and joint spurs are common.

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