Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony outgrowths that may develop along the edges of the bones. Such bony projections usually develop on joints. A bone spur in hand could give rise to pain, swelling and a reduced range of motion in the affected hand.
Bony outgrowths often develop at places where ligaments and tendons meet the bones. Though such outgrowths can develop on any bone, these are commonly seen on the shoulders, spine, hands, knee, hips, and feet. These may not always be symptomatic which is why these may go undetected. However, one may experience pain when such a bony outgrowth rubs against surrounding bones, soft tissues or nerves. The affected area could also swell up. A bone spur in hand may feel like a lump under the skin. Certain medical conditions associated with bones and joints might make one susceptible to this problem.
When a bone gets damaged or is pulled away from its place due to stress, pressure or any such stimulus, the body tries to undo the damage by creating extra bone tissue in that area. This extra bone tissue hardens to form a bony outgrowth on the edges of the damaged bone.
If a bone in the hand gets damaged due to an injury or a joint condition, a bony outgrowth may develop in the affected hand.
- Arthritis, which refers to inflammation of one or more joints, could certainly put one at a greater risk of developing bony outgrowths in hand. These could form as a result of wear and tear of the cartilage due to repetitive trauma or stress to the joints.
- Post-traumatic arthritis of the hand, which is inflammation of joints resulting from an injury, or age-related degenerative joint disease called osteoarthritis of the hand are both medical conditions that lead to inflammation in the joints in the hands or wrists.
It can be seen as a lump under the skin. It could be anywhere on the palm, fingers or the wrist depending on the location of the damaged bone or the extra bone tissue. It may not produce any symptoms and could even go undetected for years. It is only when the bony outgrowth on any of the fingers or palm begins to rub against an adjacent bone, tissues or nerves that one might experience symptoms such as:
Stiffness, swelling, pain and reduced joint mobility are the common symptoms of osteoarthritis. Those suffering from osteoarthritis of the hand are most likely to develop bony nodules on the joints. Such bony projections on the fingers can make one’s fingers look disfigured.
If you notice a bony outgrowth anywhere on your hand, it would be best to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis. If you have been experiencing pain around your palm, wrist or fingers, it would be a good idea to get an X-ray done. Diagnostic tests can help the doctors in identifying the underlying cause.
- Since such bony outgrowths are mostly caused due to joint disorders, the treatment would involve the use of drugs for treating the underlying joint disorder. Once the doctors notice any sign of inflammation of the joints, they will prescribe painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease one’s discomfort. If that doesn’t help, doctors might suggest corticosteroid injections to alleviate the pain, swelling and inflammation. If the patient is suffering from muscle spasms, muscle relaxants might be prescribed as well.
- Applying ice packs on the inflamed area might also provide some relief. One can also apply heating pads to reduce inflammation.
- It is extremely essential that one takes ample rest. There shouldn’t be any stress on the affected hand. If one is unable to use the affected hand due to the limited mobility in the affected joint or painful hand movements, doctors may ask the patient to undergo a surgery for the removal of the bony outgrowth.
If you have been experiencing pain in your hand and can feel a lump under the skin, you must seek medical help immediately. If the diagnostic tests confirm the presence of bony outgrowths, take the prescribed drugs and follow the advice given by your doctor.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.