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A bone spur, also called osteophyte, is an outgrowth on a bone. Bone spurs grow on places where two bones meet or where ligaments and tendons meet the bone. They can grow on any bone in the body, but they are commonly observed on shoulders, spine, hands, knees, hips and feet.

Bone spurs can be painful, because of they rub against nearby bones or nerves they cause swelling and consequently pain. A bone spur in the hand usually occurs on the palm and feels like a lump.

Causes of bone spurs in hand

A bone spur in hand looks like a lump and appears usually on wrist, fingers and on the palm. Sometimes it goes undetected until it starts to irritate the adjacent tissues and to cause pain and swelling.

Behind the formation of bone spurs lies the body’s own repair mechanism. Whenever the body detects a deformity, degeneration or damage to the bone, it starts making extra bone to repair it. The new bone tissue gradually hardens and forms a bone growth on top of the damaged bone. However, this attempt to repair the damage sometimes causes even more damage, especially if the new bony growth rubs against tissues, tendons, other bones or nerves.

People who have degenerative joints disorders often suffer from bone spurs because of the inflammation and wearing off of the cartilage.

Treatment for bone spurs in hand

The first thing to do after noticing a bone spur in hand is to take rest and to try not to use the affected hand too much, because movement and strain increase the friction and consequently the irritation from the bone spur.

The treatment for bone spur depends on its underlying cause. In most cases, a bone spur in hand indicates a joint disorder, so that needs to be checked, diagnosed and treated accordingly. Sometimes bone spurs are so small that they cannot be noticed. However, there are other symptoms, like pain in wrist, palm or fingers, which may indicate the problem. After hearing about the symptoms, doctors usually do an X ray exam to determine the cause of the problem. Pain killers, usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for the pain. Sometimes, doctors suggest corticosteroid injections which help with pain, inflammation and swelling. Muscle relaxants are prescribed for patients whose symptoms include muscle spasms. Ice packs applied to the bone spur also help with the pain.

In some cases, the bone spur in hand causes great problems and impairs movement of the hand, in which case doctors suggest a surgery to remove the bone spur completely.

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