Bone spurs

Bone spurs are bony projections along the edges of bones, and they often form in joints. They are a very common foot problem, though they occur in other places, too, such as on the spine.

The main cause of bone spurs is osteoarthritis. This condition breaks down the cartilage cushion at the ends of the bones, and the body attempts to repair the loss by creating bone spurs near the damaged area. Because most bone spurs have no symptoms, they can go undetected for years and they may not need treatment. In some cases, though, bone spurs can cause pain and loss of motion in the joint affected.

Heel spurs - growths of bone on the heel - occur when the plantar fascia (the band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot) pulls on its attachment to the heel bone. When this area of the heel calcifies, a spur is formed.  

Treatments for spurs include cortisone injections, corrective shoes , orthotics (shoe inserts) and anti-inflammatory medications. If spurring around the joint becomes severe, or leads to recurrent pain, surgery may be needed.

You are advised to consult a specialist if you have pain or swelling in one or more joints, or if you have difficulty moving a joint. Early treatment can help slow down or prevent further joint damage.