Lower Back Arthritis Bone Spurs Uncovered

Bone spurs, likewise known as osteophytes, are bony projections that form along joints and are often seen in conditions such as arthritis. The bone spurs themselves are not painful. However, they can rub against nearby nerves and cause pain.

In your knee, bone spurs may make it painful to expand and bend your leg. Bone spurs can get in the path of bones and tendons that keep your knee operating smoothly.

On your spine, bone spurs can push against your nerves, or even your spinal cord, causing pain and numbness elsewhere in your body.

Just When You Thought You Had Heard It All…

Usually hammertoes can be repaired without using pins or wires. However, sometimes this is necessary. In some extremely deformed toes your doctor will recommend an implant to be placed inside the joint to help maintain alignment. Earlier ambulation is encouraged with the consumption of a post-operative shoe.

QUESTION: What type of physician should I see for arthritis?
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back. An xray showed bone spurs on my lower spine, in the middle, and a bit at the top. The pain is getting a bit worse, and it's not responding to ibuprofen anymore. I am not incapacitated in any way, but it's just the pain! I have a ppo insurance plan so I can go to any doc. I'm just not sure if it should be a pain specialist, or an orthopedist. I would like to see the specialist I should see.

  • Initially after the X-ray, if the Doc thought this was serious they would have sent you to a Rheumatologist! Obviously that did not happen. Why? A bone spur (osteophyte) is a bony growth formed on normal bone. Most people think of something sharp when they think of a "spur," but a bone spur is just extra bone. It’s usually smooth, but it can cause wear and tear or pain if it presses or rubs on other bones or soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, or nerves in the body. Common places for bone spurs include the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet. What causes bone spurs? A bone spur forms as the body tries to repair itself by building extra bone. It generally forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that continues over a long period of time. Some bone spurs form as part of the aging process. As we age, the slippery tissue called cartilage that covers the ends of the bones within joints breaks down and eventually wears away (osteoarthritis). In addition, the discs that provide cushioning between the bones of the spine may break down with age. Over time, this leads to pain and swelling and, in some cases, bone spurs forming along the edges of the joint. Bone spurs due to aging are especially common in the joints of the spine and feet. Bone spurs do not require treatment unless they are causing pain or damaging other tissues. When needed, treatment may be directed at the causes, the symptoms, or the bone spurs themselves. Treatment directed at the cause of bone spurs may include weight loss to take some pressure off the joints (especially when osteoarthritis or plantar fasciitis is the cause) and stretching the affected area, such as the heel cord and bottom of the foot. Seeing a physical therapist for ultrasound or deep tissue massage may be helpful for plantar fasciitis or shoulder pain. Treatment directed at symptoms could include rest, ice, stretching, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Education in how to protect your joints is helpful if you have osteoarthritis. If a bone spur is in your foot, changing footwear or adding padding or a shoe insert such as a heel cup or orthotic may help. If the bone spur is causing corns or calluses, padding the area or wearing different shoes can help. A podiatrist (foot doctor) may be consulted if corns and calluses become a bigger problem. If the bone spur continues to cause symptoms, your health professional may suggest a corticosteroid injection at the painful area to decrease pain and inflammation of the soft tissues next to the bone spur. Sometimes the bone spurs themselves are treated. Bone spurs can be surgically removed, or treated as part of a surgery to repair or replace a joint when osteoarthritis has caused considerable damage and deformity. Examples might include repair of a bunion or heel spur in the foot or removal of small spurs underneath the point of the shoulder. Therefore I would return to the original Doc and explain the pain is worsening. Good Luck

  • Rheumatologist For more info: http://www.rheumatology.org/public/rheumatologist.asp

  • A rheumatologist