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Bone Spur Removal: A Comprehensive Guide


In this comprehensive blog, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of bone spurs – understanding their formation, recognizing the telltale signs, exploring non-surgical remedies, and when surgical intervention becomes necessary. 

So, let’s embark on this journey together, arming ourselves with the knowledge to make informed decisions and bidding farewell to bone spur woes once and for all!

What are bone spurs, and how do they form?

Bone spurs are tiny outgrowths that can develop on the edges of bones. Picture them as the body’s misguided attempt to repair itself. When bones are under constant stress or pressure, the body tries to reinforce them by depositing extra bone tissue. 

However, this repair process can sometimes go awry, leading to the formation of bone spurs. Several factors contribute to their development, including:

  • Joint degeneration (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • Aging
  • Injuries or trauma
  • Poor posture or alignment
  • Excessive mechanical stress (e.g., doing repetitive movements)
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Inflammatory conditions, like tendinitis, bursitis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

It’s essential to note that bone spur development can vary from person to person, and not everyone with the above risk factors will necessarily develop them.

What are the symptoms of bone spurs?

Bone spurs can be stealthy troublemakers, often showing no symptoms at all. But when they make their presence known, they can cause discomfort and limit your range of motion. Keep an eye out for signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Localized tenderness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Joint instability
  • Visible bumps or lumps
  • Difficulty in walking or bearing weight on the affected body part.
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Pain even at rest.

These symptoms often become more apparent during movement, as the spurs can rub against nearby tissues, like ligaments or tendons.

It’s important to note that the severity and specific symptoms of bone spurs can differ from person to person. 

If you experience persistent or worsening pain, limited mobility, or any concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical evaluation and appropriate treatment to address the underlying cause and manage the symptoms effectively.

How are bone spurs diagnosed?

Diagnosing bone spurs typically involves a combination of medical history reviews, physical examinations, and imaging tests. Imaging diagnostic procedures may include X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. 

Additionally, your doctor may also order specific blood tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing similar symptoms.

An orthopedic specialist will review your results and make a diagnosis. They will discuss the treatment options with you, taking into account the severity of your symptoms, overall health, and preferences.

Are there non-surgical treatments for bone spurs?

In many cases, doctors recommend starting with conservative treatments before considering surgery. These may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Additionally, your physician might suggest lifestyle modifications, like wearing orthotic shoe inserts or using assistive devices, to ease pressure on the affected area.

When is bone spur removal surgery necessary?

Surgery enters the picture when non-surgical approaches fail to provide adequate relief. Your orthopedic doctor will carefully evaluate the severity of your condition, overall health, and lifestyle before recommending surgery. 

Furthermore, they’ll consider factors like the size and location of the spurs, the impact on adjacent structures, and the degree of pain and impairment you’re experiencing.

What are the different surgical techniques for bone spur removal?

There are several approaches to removing bone spurs, and your surgeon will choose the one best suited for your individual case. 

Each method has its pros and cons, but the goal remains the same – to relieve pain, restore function, and improve your quality of life. Some common techniques include the following:

1. Open surgery

This traditional approach involves making a larger incision directly over the affected area to access the bone spur. Open surgery is commonly used when the bone spur is relatively large, deep-seated, or requires extensive removal. 

The surgeon will carefully remove the bone spur and may also address any other underlying issues, such as repairing damaged tissues or correcting joint abnormalities.

2. Arthroscopic surgery

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses a small, flexible camera called an arthroscope to visualize and treat the bone spur. 

Several small incisions are made around the affected joint, and the arthroscope is inserted to guide the surgeon. Specialized surgical instruments are then used to remove the bone spur with precision. 

Arthroscopic surgery typically results in smaller incisions, reduced scarring, and faster recovery than open surgery.

3. Endoscopic surgery

Endoscopy is a newer and more advanced minimally invasive technique for bone spur removal. It is similar to arthroscopy but uses an even smaller incision and a thin, flexible tube with a camera called an endoscope. 

The endoscope allows the surgeon to visualize and remove the bone spurs through the tiny incision, resulting in minimal disruption to surrounding tissues and faster healing.

4. Osteotomy

In cases where the bone spur is associated with joint misalignment or abnormal bone growth, an osteotomy may be performed. Osteotomy involves cutting and repositioning the bone to correct its alignment and remove the bone spur.

5. Partial joint replacement

Joint replacement surgery may be considered if the bone spur has caused significant joint damage or osteoarthritis. In this procedure, the damaged portion of the joint is removed and replaced with artificial components, such as metal or plastic implants.

What to expect during the recovery period?

The recovery period following bone spur removal surgery is a crucial phase in your healing journey. It’s essential to understand that recovery times can vary depending on factors like the surgical technique used, the size and location of the bone spur, and your overall health. 

Generally, here’s what you can expect during the recovery period:

Postoperative pain

You’ll likely experience some discomfort and swelling immediately after the surgery, but fear not – your medical team will provide pain management strategies and clear post-operative instructions. 

Hospital stay (if applicable)

The length of your hospital stay, if any, will depend on the complexity of the surgery and your overall condition. Minimally invasive procedures may require only a short stay or even be performed as outpatient procedures.

Bandages and dressings

You may have bandages or dressings over the incision site to protect and promote healing. Keep the surgical incision clean and dry to prevent infection. 

Follow your surgeon’s instructions for wound care and report any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge.

Restricted activities

Your doctor will likely advise you to avoid certain activities during the early stages of recovery to prevent strain on the surgical site.

While engaging in rehabilitation exercises is essential, it’s equally important to get adequate rest to support healing. Avoid overexertion and listen to your body.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a crucial aspect of your recovery. Your doctor may recommend starting physical therapy soon after surgery to promote healing, reduce swelling, and regain strength and mobility in the affected area.

Gradual return to normal activities

As your healing progresses, you can gradually resume normal activities. Your doctor will provide specific guidelines on when it’s safe to do so.

Follow-up appointments

You’ll have regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress, assess the healing process, and address any concerns or questions you may have.

Embrace life without bone spurs at Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center

If you’re facing the challenge of bone spurs, you’re not alone. Solutions are available to help you return to living life to the fullest!

Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is a leading destination for exceptional surgical treatment and personalized patient care. 

Our center boasts a team of renowned Raleigh orthopedic surgeons, specialists, and medical professionals who have honed their skills through years of experience. You can trust that your care will be in the hands of experts who excel in their respective fields.

When it comes to your orthopedic health, you deserve nothing less than the best. Contact us if you have any questions. 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.