Bone spurs (osteophytes) are the body's reaction to stimuli. When parts of the body are constantly stressed with repetitive motion, impact, or pressure, the body thinks it is injured and begins to form new bone at the location of the stress. The new bone formation is called a bone spur. People often begin to feel pain when the bone spur adds pressure to the nerves or begins to impact other bones or tendons. Bone spurs can occur on all parts of the body. For example, plantar fasciitis is a common diagnosis in the foot, where bone spurs occur on the heels. Another common place where bone spurs occur is in the shoulder.
If you do not feel any symptoms from your bone spur, it may not be necessary to treat it. If symptoms do arise, diagnosis by an orthopedic doctor followed by physical therapy can be an effective way to treat bone spurs. A physical therapist can use ultrasound and deep massage to decrease pain. Rest, icing, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and stretching are also helpful treatments for bone spurs. Surgical removal is another option.