Symptoms

Illustration of an arthritic elbow showing an inflamed synovium and numerous bone spurs Bone spurs

Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms. Often you don't even realize you have bone spurs until an X-ray for another condition reveals the growths.

But some bone spurs can cause:

  • Pain in your joints
  • Loss of motion in your joints

Location determines other symptoms
Where your bone spurs are located determines where you'll feel pain and whether you'll experience any other signs or symptoms. For instance:

  • In your knee, bone spurs may make it painful to extend and bend your leg. Bone spurs can get in the way of bones and tendons that keep your knee operating smoothly.
  • On your spine, bone spurs can push against your nerves, or even your spinal cord, causing pain and numbness elsewhere in your body.
  • On your neck, cervical bone spurs can protrude inward, occasionally making it difficult to swallow or painful to breathe. Bone spurs can also push against veins, restricting blood flow to your brain.
  • In your shoulder, bone spurs can restrict the range of motion of your arm. Bone spurs can rub on your rotator cuff, a group of tendons that help control your shoulder movements. This can cause swelling (tendinitis) and tears in your rotator cuff.
  • On your fingers, bone spurs may appear as hard lumps under your skin, making your fingers appear disfigured. Bone spurs on your fingers may cause intermittent pain.

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