Do You Have a Bone Spur in Your Foot?

April 8, 2021 • Our Blog • foot carefoot conditionsfoot painheel pain

Bone spurs are a common condition, especially as we get older. Learn about how to tell if you have a bone spur, and how to get treatment.  No two bone spurs are alike. Some bone spurs are completely undetectable except to an x-ray, causing little to no pain. More severe bone spurs can be an aching nuisance, causing a visible bump on your skin. The most severe bone spurs cause sharp pain in your affected joints, so much so that it may be too painful to walk.  Early detection is the key to preventing your bone spurs from becoming unmanageable. Because bone spurs often begin with mild symptoms, it’s crucial that high-risk individuals learn how to identify a bone spur — even when the symptoms are mild. Let’s investigate what a bone spur is, who is at risk of getting them, and how to detect a bone spur if you suspect you have one. 

What are bone spurs?

A bone spur, also known as an osteophyte, is a growth of extra bone mass, usually at the site of a joint. When a bone spur begins to form, it is often accompanied by a mild ache — so mild that the bone spur may even be undetectable. As a bone spur gathers more bone mass, it can become visible to the human eye, poking out with a lump on the surface of your skin. Severe bone spurs can frustrate your nerves, tendons, and ligaments around your joint, making them quite painful, especially when you’re trying to walk.  Bone spurs are your body’s natural response to a bone that is under pressure or stress. If your bone is constantly being strained and worn down, a bone spur develops to protect your existing bone by adding more bone mass. Because the bones in your feet experience lots of constant pressure, bone spurs often develop on your feet, heels, and ankles.  Some of the most common causes of bone spurs are:   
  • Old age. As you get older, the protective cartilage that cushions your joints may begin to wear away. With thinning cartilage, your bones may begin to wear down, triggering the growth of a bone spur. 
  • Obesity. Extra weight means the bones in your feet will be under more pressure than they’re prepared for. For this reason, overweight people experience bone spurs at a higher rate than people who aren’t overweight. 
  • Injuries. If you have damaged a joint, or broken a bone near cartilage, a bone spur may develop at the site of your injury. Ironically, as your body tries to protect your injured bone, it can create a new injury. 

How can I detect a bone spur?

Bone spurs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from major lumps under your skin to tiny growths that are invisible without x-ray technology. Symptoms that may indicate a bone spur include: 
  • A growth, callous, or corn
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Aching
  • Pain when a joint is under pressure (standing, walking, etc.)
To relieve the pain of a bone spur, there are plenty of at-home remedies available. If your bone spur is caused by extra weight, losing weight with a healthy diet can reduce pressure on your affected area. To reduce inflammation, applying ice, stretching, and resting your joints are all effective solutions.  Every serious bone spur began as a mild one. If you suspect you have bone spurs on your feet, it’s always the right time to visit a podiatric professional. At Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group, our qualified podiatrists have experience treating bone spurs, with effective treatments for foot pain. To schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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