According to MayoClinic.com, bone spurs (also called osteophytes) occur when bony projections develop along the edges of bone. The rough edges aren't sensitive on their own, but when they come in contact with nearby nerves and other bones, it can be painful. Bone spurs can form on any bone, but they most often form at joints or where ligaments and tendons connect with bone. They can form on the heel, in the elbow or wrist, or on the bones of your spine.
Heel Spur Exercises
Because of the incredible amount of wear and tear that a person's feet, especially their heel, undergoes, bone spurs are most common on this part of the body. But with proper heel spur stretching exercises the potential for a bone spur to develop on the foot is reduced. Tissue and muscle will be strengthened and if a bone spur does begin to develop, it will have a hard time progressing.
One exercise consists of finding a wall that can take the weight and pressure of you leaning against it. Position yourself so that one knee is straight and one knee is bent, one foot in front of the other. Bend both legs at the knee and count to 10. Repeat between 20 and 25 times for each heel, alternating every five stretches. If you start to develop more severe heel pain, stop immediately and consult a physician. These exercises should not be followed with a "No Pain, No Gain" philosophy. They should be done slowly and carefully.
Next, lean forward onto a countertop. Spread both feet apart but make sure one foot is in front of the other. Stretch your knees and squat down. Make sure not to lift your heels. You should feel a slight burn or stretch in your foot arches as your heels come up in the stretch. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then come back up to standing. Repeat this 20 to 25 times, alternating which foot is forward every fifth time.
Forearm, Elbow and Wrist Spur Exercises and Stretches
Strenuous activity or exercise can also cause spurs. Tennis is a common sport that can cause bone spurs or a weak elbow. To exercise spurs out of the wrist, elbows or shoulders, try the following exercises:
To concentrate on the muscles that flex the wrist, straighten your right arm out in front of you, palm facing up, and use your left hand gently push on the upturned right palm. Hold that position for five to seven seconds, and switch sides. Try this exercise 40 times, two sets a day.
To work on the muscles that twist the wrist, hold a five-pound weight in the hurt hand with the thumb pointing up. Now, slowly and purposefully rotate the wrist inward as far as possible and then outward as far as possible. Hold each position for two seconds before moving to the next one. Repeat this as many times as your elbow will allow. Again, do not overdo it for the sake of "speeding up" your recovery. A slow, gentle recovery is the best thing for bone spurs in the arm, elbow or wrist.
Treatment For Back Spurs
Sadly, surgery is the most effective way to relieve pain and neurological symptoms related to bone spurs and thickened ligaments in the back. If you're older than 40, know that medical conditions associated with age (high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease) can influence surgical risks and impede the recovery process. But it is well worth it. Spine surgery for bone spurs becomes necessary if nerve and/or spinal cord compression is causing pain or motor loss. For physical therapy post-surgery, try the following exercise:
First, place a mat on the floor near a wall. Lie on your back with your legs stretched along the floor, both feet pressed firmly against the wall. Press both your palms down on the mat. Bend your right knee and bring it to slowly toward the middle of your chest. Keep your extended leg pressed down on the mat, inhale and then extend your right leg to the sky, stretching until it is almost parallel to the wall. Hold that position for ten seconds and then go back to start. Do that 25 times, twice a day.