A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a growth off the edge of a bone. Bone spurs most often form next to joints (where two or more bones meet). Despite the name, a bone spur is not a spiky structure, but rather a smooth outgrowth from the bone that has developed over a long period.
A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a growth off the edge of a bone. Bone spurs most often form next to joints (where 2 or more bones meet). Despite the name, a bone spur is not a spiky structure, but rather a smooth outgrowth from the bone that has developed over a long period.
Bone spurs are common as we age, and you may not even know you have them. Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms and often do not need to be treated. They may simply show up in tests, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are done for other conditions.
However, sometimes bone spurs can cause pain or loss of motion in joints. If this happens, talk to your doctor, as treatment may be needed.
What areas of the body are affected by bone spurs?
The most common problem areas for bone spurs are:
• Knees: Over time, bone spurs may cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion (how far a joint can move).
• Hip: Spurs may cause pain and reduced range of motion.
• Spine: Bone spurs on the vertebrae can be a factor in the development of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine in the lower back. This can pinch nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
• Shoulder: Motion in the shoulder may be affected by bone spurs rubbing against tendons and muscles in the shoulder’s rotator cuff. This can lead to tendinitis (an inflammation or irritation of a tendon) and a tear in the rotator cuff.
• Hands: Bone spurs can form in the finger joints. This can cause loss of motion and give the fingers a knobby appearance.
• Foot and ankle: Bone spurs may form at the back or bottom of the heel (heel spurs). They may be painful and may require shoe inserts, stretching, or, as a last resort, surgery. Bone spurs are also common in the mid-foot and great toe. Inserts and changes in shoes are the treatments before surgery is considered.
What causes bone spurs?
Bone spurs are most often caused by osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, affects people over the age of 65 most often.
As we age, cartilage (the firm rubbery substance that is a cushion between bones and allows joint motion) breaks down. The result can be pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the joints. As time goes on, bone can break down, too. In response, the body develops bone growths (or spurs) near the damage.
What are the symptoms of bone spurs?
Depending on their location, bone spurs can lead to:
• Swelling Pain
• Loss of motion in joints
• Weakness and numbness
• Tendon tears (such as rotator cuff tears)
High cholesterol, which is a known factor for the decrease in heart health may harm more than our cardiovascular systems and lead to bone loss, say researchers including one of Indian-origin.
The new research conducted using animal models suggests that high levels of cholesterol can trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells -- connective tissue -- causing them to die.
This may ultimately lead to the development of osteoarthritis -- a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down, said Indira Prasadam, a researcher at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
For the study, Prasadam and her team used two different animal models to mimic human hypercholesterolemia.
The first was a mouse model that had an altered gene called Apolipoprotein E that made the animals hypercholesteremic.
The other was a rat model, and the animals were fed a high-cholesterol diet, causing diet-induced hypercholesterolemia.
Both models were fed a high-cholesterol diet or control normal diet, after which they underwent a surgery that mimics knee injuries in people and was designed to bring on osteoarthritis.
Both the mice and the rats that were subjected to surgery and fed with high-cholesterol diets showed more severe osteoarthritis development than seen in the normal diet group.
However, when both the mice and the rats were exposed to the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin and mitochondrion-targeted antioxidants, the development of osteoarthritis was markedly decreased in relation to the untreated groups.
This study tested the potential therapeutic role of mitochondria targeting antioxidants in high-cholesterol-induced osteoarthritis, the researchers said.
"Our team has already begun working alongside dieticians to try to educate the public about healthy eating and how to keep cholesterol levels at a manageable level that won't damage joints," Prasadam said.
The research was published online in The FASEB Journal.