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Osteophyte is the medical name for the bones spur, which refers to the bone outgrowth on the normal bone, especially in the jointswhere two different bones join. Bone spurs may also develop in the areas wherethe ligaments and tendons link with the bones. In most cases, these bone outgrowths are caused by thebone inflammation or due to constant friction of the bones against each other. Theexcessive pressure and stress to the bones cause the bones to wear and tear. However,the bones are also renewed within every five years, but sometimes a new bonegrows on the edge of the existing bone.

Even though bone spurs may appear everywhere in thebody, it is observed that they usually occur in the spine, shoulder and hips. Furthermore,the hands, knee and feet are also some of the most affected places.

Causes of bone spurs

Osteophytes are mostly caused by osteoarthritis, plantarfasciitis and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. The elderly population is prone to development of osteoarthritis, which is actually the wearing of the cartilages that covers the joints. This cartilageis a connective tissue found on every end of the bone, where one bonemeets another bone in a joint. The function of the cartilage is to prevent therubbing or fraction of the bones against each other. However, when thecartilage is worn out, the bones are frequently rubbed against each other and inreturn, the bone spurs form because of that stress.

The bone outgrowths in the feet are caused by theplantar fasciitis. The inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a long ligamentat the bottom of the foot, leads to the formation of the bone spurs. Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, abbreviated DISH, is a conditionwhich is likely to cause the formation of osteophytes in the ligaments in thespine. When the bone spurs appear in the neck area, as wellas in the lower back, they are usually induced by a degenerative form of arthritiscalled spondylosis.

Symptoms of bone spurs

When the bone outgrowths occur, they are usuallyvery smooth and hardly provoke any symptoms. However, if it comes to the rubbing againstother bones, the pain and the swelling are inevitable. Depending on the placewhere they appear, the symptoms are usually different. For example, if the bonespurs grow in a shoulder, the person will have the problem to move the arm smoothly, or if the bone spurs appear in the knee, the person may have problems with bendingthe knee.

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