Osteophytes,more commonly known as bone spurs, occur when the body tries to heala portion of a bone and creates a sort of splinter that extends fromthe bone. Although bone spurs may develop on any of the body's manybones, they are most common in joints or in places that are regularlyunder a lot of pressure, such as the feet, hands, elbows and knees.Usually, bone spurs will go away on their own. However, a bone spurcan become particularly painful when a shoe or other bit of clothingpresses against it and causes the nerve endings around it to becomedamaged. This may require surgery to correct.
Adoctor will typically examine the location of the bone spur todetermine the extent of the pain felt by the patient. An x-ray of the area willusually be taken to confirm the location and size of thebone spur and a course of action will then be decided upon. This maymean a surgical procedure to remove the bone spur entirely. Thesurgeon will either perform an invasive surgery, which means makingan open incision to directly remove the bone spur, or they mightperform an arthroscopic surgery, which involves using miniaturesurgical equipment to remove the bone spur through a very smallincision, aided by a tiny camera.
Aforaminotomy is a procedure where the gaps through which the nerveroots leave the spine are widened to relieve the pressure on the nerves.Bone spurs on the spine can be the cause of this pressure.Alternatively, via a procedure called a laminotomy, the space aroundthe affected neural tissue can be enlarged, which in turn reduces the pressure on the nerves themselves and alleviates pain.
OtherForms of Treatment
Occasionally,sufferers of bone spurs can simply wait for them to disappear aftersome resting of the affected joint or bone. Injections of cortisonecan help alleviate bone spurs, as well as some non-prescriptionmedications. Exercise is another treatment that doctors mayrecommend, as long as the exercise does not aggravate the pain.
Preventionis always preferable to the treatment of existing problems. Sincebone spurs are typically caused by pressure on particular bones, theobvious solution is to relieve this pressure. some footwear can placeexcessive force on certain joints which can lead to bone spurs. Also,tight fitting clothing can aggravate existing bone spurs by rubbingagainst them.