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Jan 20, 2011

Healthy Living digs deep about knowledge of bone spurs

Have you heard of the term bone spurs? It is a condition of abnormal bone growth. According to the specialists, many persons have it and do not know it. Treatment is required depending on where it forms. Healthy Living has more on bone spurs.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

The regular wear and tear we put on our body is hardly recognized in younger years. Often times the body takes it upon itself to repair or compensate for the weaknesses we develop internally. This is what happens when the body produces a bone spur. Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr Francis Smith, explains how they’re formed.

francis smith

Doctor Francis Smith, Orthopedic Surgeon

“A bone spur is a boney protrusion from the edges of bone.  That’s basically what a bone spur is. it develops gradually along the edges of bones usually by the joints where the bone meets bone but it can also develop where tendons and ligaments insert on the bone. A bone spur is actually the body’s response to undue stresses. Bone spurs will occur mostly in your knees they will occur in your neck or rather in your neck bone or anywhere along your spine. it can occur on your finger. In your knuckles but actually a bone spur can occur on any bone so it can occur on your skull in your shoulder or your heel bone. You’ve heard of heel spurs.”

These abnormal growths are usually no reason for alarm. In fact many people may live with bone spurs that are never diagnosed or exhibited a single symptom. This depends though on their location.

Dr. Francis Smith

“Where the bone spur is located is where is important so the symptoms depend on the location. So in the case of a bone spur in the neck or neck bone something we call cervical spondylosis. The spur can then protrude against the oesophagus causing you to have difficulty swallowing or it can infringe on nerve roots causing neck pain or pain radiating to your upper limbs.”

Bone Spurs cause pain when they rub against another bone or a nerve.  These are the types that will require some form of treatment.

Dr. Francis Smith

“So overall the treatment of bone spur would be to treat the underlying the cause. It’s not necessarily to go and remove the spur unless the spur is doing further damage for instance if a spur is protruding into the oesophagus to such an extent that you’re having difficulty swallowing then obviously you’ll want to remove the spur. But isn’t necessary for all spurs. It’s not necessary and that is extremely important because in today’s world of high-pressured salesman ship and marketing which is even in medicine now. You’ve got to make a balanced decision. So lots of times a bone spur can be beneficial. Meaning it’s your body response. It tries to repair itself and it tries to redistribute your weight so sometimes we see from experience, that we accelerate a joint replacement by doing too much arthroscopic procedures. So in my practice I’ve decreased the arthroscopic debriding or procedures for exactly that reason that we learn from these experiences. That sometimes a bone spur isn’t such a terrible thing.”

Generally though, as we age the body will produce bone spurs in an effort to compensate for weakening joints and limbs as a result of exercise and regular daily movement. Dr Smith suggests being smart about the type of activity you choose to have your body endure and to be cognizant of your family history.

Dr. Francis Smith

“Lots of time you have to pay attention to your family history if you know you have family that is prone to degenerative osteoporosis arthritis or knee problems  then you probably don’t want to jogging aerobics after age 35. You’ll then have to lean towards more low impact activities exercises like pilates or yoga. The elderly should be doing more exercises like tai chi, yoga some weight training, very light and lots of stretching. So it’s a balance.”

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