Bone spurs, also referred to as osteophytes, are bony outgrowths which develop as a part of the repair mechanism of our body; most often seen on the spine or bones of our shoulders, hands, knees and feet.
Usually, bone spurs are very smooth, but when exposed to clothes or footwear they can cause a lot of pain as this exposure causes the excess bone to rub on the nerve endings of the other bones or the soft tissues in our body.
Our feet are under constant stress, having to bear the entire weight of our body, which doesn't just make bone spurs in foot extremely painful and discomforting, but also increases the chances of their formation. In fact, the chances of a bone spur developing in our feet are a lot more compared to the other parts of our body.
Heel spur, for instance, is one of the most common and painful foot bone spur, which can develop as a result of a range of activities - including the use of inappropriate footwear.
As we mentioned earlier, bone spurs are caused when our body tries to repair itself, and builds an extra bone in the process. In feet, bone spurs are likely to occur when a particular area of the body is continuously exposed to excessive pressure or stress as a result of some physical activity. Some of the most likely causes are -
- The long ligament at the bottom of the foot tightening due to excessive stress on the feet as a result of standing or walking for a long time.
- Excess weight of the individual which puts a lot of pressure on the feet, the joints in particular.
Similarly, foot bone spurs also occur as a result of aging related disorders, such as osteoarthritis, wherein the capacity of the body to adapt to stress depreciates considerably.
In some cases, a small bump or a bit of swelling is noticed in the part of the body wherein bone spur has developed. Other than that, there are no obvious symptoms of this condition, and therefore one does not even realize that he is affected - until it manifests into a painful condition.
The enormous pain that the individual suffers when the affected area is exposed to rubbing or pressure, can give a rough idea that something is wrong with the particular area - and that may be a bone spur.
As our feet are exposed to a lot of pressure from our day-to-day activities, the pain caused by a foot bone spur can cause a lot of inconvenience and prompt the individual to seek medical help. This pain, which tends to immobilize the person at times, acts as an initial symptom, and plays a crucial role in the preliminary diagnosis of bone spurs in foot.
In some cases, people experience bouts of pain only when they resort to some physical activity like walking or climbing stairs. Based on the initial observations, the doctor may recommend an X-ray of the affected area to confirm if the person is suffering from this condition.
While foot bone spurs usually recover on their own, there are times when they need to be treated - especially the cases wherein they cause excessive pain or start damaging the surrounding tissue. Knowing what triggered their formation can be helpful when it comes to bone spur treatment.
If the spur has occurred as a result of excessive pressure on the feet due to excess weight of the individual, it can be treated by initiating weight loss, which will eventually decrease the pressure on the joints.
If the disorder has been caused due to poor fitting footwear, changing footwear or adding some sort of cushioned padding can ease the problem. In case of foot bone spurs, deep tissue massage, stretching of the affected area and taking ample rest will help, as the condition is likely to worsen if your feet are continuously exposed to any sort of stress.
If the pain persists even after trying these simple methods, the doctor may recommend the use of a walking cast, and also prescribe corticosteroids to provide relief from pain and inflammation. In case of internal bleeding or if it continues to grow, then surgical removal of bone spur will be recommended; but that is often considered the last resort.
You don't really need to worry about bone spurs if they are not causing pain or affecting your day-to-day activities, as adequate rest will make sure that they will eventually go on their own. On the other hand, if they do affect you or cause any sort of inconvenience, then you will have to seek medical help to deal with this condition.
Disclaimer: This is for the purpose of providing information, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.