Care at CNSO – Understanding Bone Spurs


one spurs, also known as osteophytes, are overgrowths of bone. Spurs can develop along bone edges, at ligament or tendon attachments, and within a joint spaces, such as knees and hips. When bone spurs develop, they can cause pain through nerve impingement, friction against surrounding soft tissue, and changes in the joint’s normal patterns of motion.

Most bone spurs do not produce symptoms, and go undetected for years. When pain does present, however, it can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms may include joint achiness or stiffness. When severe, bone spurs can cause debilitating pain, frozen joints, or neurological deficits. The size and location of the bone spur can impact the severity of the symptoms. Some common areas of bone spur formation include: the shoulder, most commonly at the acromioclavicular joint (where your shoulder meets your collar bone), in the hip and knees, at your heel, and within your spinal column, which can lead to spinal pinched nerves, and radiculopathy.

The most common cause of bone spurs is joint damage from osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease. It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults have arthritis in at least 1 joint, and 88% of people who have OA are over the age of 45.

Bone spurs develop in response to repetitive wear and tear, or major trauma, to the cartilage and ligaments of a joint. As the cartilage cushioning breaks down at the ends of your bones, your body attempts to repair the loss by creating bone near the damaged area, creating bone spurs. These overgrowths affect joints differently. In the shoulder, you may have loss of motion and damage to impinged tissue, which can lead to rotator cuff tears. Bone spurs in the knee and hip joint can also limit your range of motion and make it difficult to walk, get up and down stairs, or get up from a chair. Heel spurs are common and are formed due to stress placed at the insertion of your plantar fascia. In the spine, bone spurs can cause narrowing of the canals where your spinal cord and nerves travel. This narrowing, called spinal stenosis, can cause neck and back pain, as well as neurological symptoms in the arms and legs, such as pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and loss of coordination which could impait your ability to function normally.When seeking treatment for your bone spur-related pain or dysfunction, look for experienced, qualified specialists who understand the complexities of diagnosing spine and joint ailments: many of your symptoms, such as pain or tingling, cannot be measured, and may result from common conditions unrelated to bone spurs. The diagnosis of symptomatic bone spurs can never be made from X-rays or MRIs alone, because most adults have abnormal findings on their scans even if they do not have symptoms. Beware of providers who offer free MRI reviews.

A spine or joint specialist evaluating your bone spurs must be willing to spend a great deal of time listening to you in order to gather clues about where your symptoms are coming from. He or she must also conduct a detailed physical and neurological examination. It is only then that your specialist can make sense of your complicated X-rays and MRI, which likely contain many abnormal findings, and determine whether these findings are related to your specific symptoms and signs. This is an important point: If the initial diagnosis is incorrect, all treatment plans will result in failure, even if those treatments are performed well.

The majority of bone spur sufferers will return to normal activity without surgery. The body has a remarkable capacity for healing, and the role of your specialist is to guide you through this process quickly, and prevent future recurrences of symptoms.

However, for the rare patients who do need injections or surgery to regain normal function, the specialists must have a broad range of skills and a proven record of technical mastery to assure optimal outcomes. You owe it to yourself to get treatment from the best specialists in the field.

NJ’s only Comprehensive Center for Bone Spurs: Available near you for evaluation, treatment, and follow up care.

The dedicated team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO) understands how spine and joint problems can impact your daily life. By working with this team of renowned, board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, non-surgical physicians, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists, you will receive comprehensive and coordinated care, so you can quickly resume a healthy, less painful lifestyle free from disability. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations spanning across northern New Jersey, including offices in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Hudson, and Sussex Counties. Northern NJ patients can learn more about effectively treating painful bone spurs by contacting the providers at CNSO today.

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