Bone Spurs

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is an overgrowth of bone as a result of trauma or reactive stress of a ligament or tendon. This growth can cause pain and even restrict movement of a joint, depending on its location and size. Spurs may also be located under the toenail plate, causing nail deformity and pain. Surgical treatment and procedure is based on the size, location and symptoms of the bone spur.

When people think of a bone spur they relate it to something sharp but it is actually just an extra bone. Typically it is smooth but over time it can cause wear and tear and even pain if it presses or rubs on tendons, ligaments, nerves and other bones.

Bone spurs that are associated with the feet are typically known as heel spurs. Heel spurs are a response from the feet to tight ligaments. There are many physical activities that can cause them as well as pressure from being overweight and wearing poorly fitting shoes.

A great example of a heel spur is when the long ligament on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia becomes stressed or tight and pulls on the heel. The tightness and pulling on the ligament causes it to become inflamed, causing a very common foot inflammation called plantar fasciitis. As the bone tries to mend itself, a bone spur can form on the bottom of the heel.

A second example of a bone spur is a spur that forms on the back of the heel. This is commonly called the “pump bump.” This is often seen in women who wear tight shoes, most commonly high heels. The tightness of the shoe puts pressure on the back of the heel allowing the spur to grow over time.

An x-ray is the best way to determine the size and location of your spur. If conservative treatments do not relieve your pain, tenderness or even numbness it may be best to consider surgery to remove the spur. If the spur is located within a joint the surgery may allow the joint to move freely after surgery. Removing your bone spur may help prevent future problems that could arise.

If you think you have a bone spur please call our office and make an appointment!!  Dr Iwu will help you locate the size and severity of your bone spur and discuss any conservative or surgical treatment options that fit your lifestyle.

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