The development of bone spurs are considered as common occurrence in some individuals. The condition is characterized as the formation of bony growths along the edges of the bones in various parts of the body such as the neck, spine, feet, shoulder, knees and fingers.
Even though some cases of bone spurs are quite harmless, other cases can compress on the blood vessels that travel to other parts of the body including the brain. This is why diagnosis can be difficult and treatment for bone spurs is vital to prevent future health issues.
Assessment for bone spurs
- The individual should move his/her arms, shoulders, legs and neck to test for the range of motion. A possible indication of a bone spur is diminished range of motion that occurs as the bone spurs disrupts with the usual ability of the joint to move.
- Flex and relax the joints and pay close attention if any joint-related pain occurs. Once bone spurs develop close to the joints, they can affect the pain sensory nerves situated around the spurs, resulting to various intensities of pain.
- The individual should rotate his/her shoulders and pay attention to any loss of pain or motion. The bone spurs can oftentimes rub against the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff which results to pain, swelling and diminished range of motion to the shoulders.
- The individual can try swallowing to check whether or not he/she has difficulty in swallowing or breathing. The bone spurs can also develop in the neck including the esophagus and the airways.
- Instruct the individual to bend his/her knees to check the range of motion. In case the range of motion is reduced, a bone spur might be interfering with the ability of the tendon to operate the knee joint.
- Assess the fingers for evident bumps especially around the joints. Due to the minimal tissue in between the bone and skin, spurs that develop on the fingers can become visible on the skin surface.
- When a doctor is consulted, an X-ray is requested. This imaging test is the only way to ensure that a bone spur has developed. This will also provide the doctor an opportunity to explain the possible treatment options.
Once a bone spur is detected, various treatment measures can be started such as cold therapy or anti-inflammatory medications. Depending on the findings of the doctor, the suitable treatment can be given to relieve the symptoms.