Bone Spur

Bone spurs are tiny bony outgrowths that form at the joints and restrict joint movement. Bone spurs are generally associated with arthritis but they can also be the result of trauma to the joint or certain diseases. Spurs can form on any of the joints of the body including the knees, arms, and hips but they most commonly affect the feet – specifically the heel.

Heel Bone Spur Pain

Symptoms of Bone Spurs

A bone spur may remain undetected in the initial stages, and the symptoms may depend on the affected joint. Heel bone spur symptoms include sharp and intense pain in the heel along with swelling and inflammation. Our feet bear the weight of our entire body and so bone spurs in the feet can be particularly painful. Simple chores such as walking to the store or even getting the papers can become quite a task. Since walking is painful, people often stop exercising all together and this can cause secondary conditions such as obesity and muscle degeneration. The symptoms of bone spurs in the spine are quite different from other bone spurs as these spurs can pinch the nerves running along the spine and this results in numbness and tingling. This can also affect the limbs or areas that are connected to the pinched nerve. Therefore, if you have a spinal bone spur you may experience weakness in a certain limb. A bone spur in the left shoulder or the right may be tough to diagnose as it results in non-specific symptoms such as a dull ache or throbbing in the affected shoulder. On the other hand, a bone spur on the upper portion of the foot is easier to diagnose as it causes a noticeable bump just above the big toe. An x-ray test of the affected area would be necessary in order to confirm this diagnosis.

Causes of Bone Spurs

Many theories about the causes of bone spurs have been put forward but it is not always easy to determine the exact cause of the bone spur. Of all the minerals present in the human body, calcium is the most abundant, but in a poor diet, it can also be the most deficient. The total intake of calcium from food varies widely from place to place, and from age to age. Dietary calcium depends on the customary diet, which varies widely from location to location, and from community to community.

The age of the individual also plays a part because a teenager or adolescent is still in the “growing” stage of his/her life and would therefore require more calcium than an adult. While the adolescent would absorb as much as 75% of the calcium from the food he/she consumes; in an adult, the maximum rate of absorption of calcium would range between 20% and 30%. Our bones are the hardest of our bodily structures, and they seem permanent, but in fact they are subject to degradation just like any other body structure. In order to maintain itself, the body needs to break down its tissues and form them again. An adult gives up 20% of bone calcium and replaces it with new calcium every year. Thus there is a constant process of renewal. Calcium can be found in the soft tissues of our bodies, and is essential for the regular functioning of the cells.

People who suffer from extra bone growths in the legs or spurs on the heel may need to resort to surgery for relief. In surgery healing is slow, so many who suffer from bone spur prefer to alter their diet, with adequate calcium intake to inhibit the progress of this condition. It may seem strange that in order to stop a calcium deposit, you need to increase your calcium intake. In order to understand this apparent paradox, it is important to first understand the process of bone spur formation. What happens is that when the body’s store of calcium is running low, it begins to extract calcium from the bones of the body, especially from a part that is weak. As the calcium is being slowly withdrawn from the bone in question, it causes what may be called an eruption from which the bone material is drawn out into the blood stream. This eruption is the bone spur, and it will carry on extracting its contents until the right amount of calcium along with other vital minerals is provided by the body. This leaching process of the bone spur is best eliminated by supplementing your diet with a tested formulation of calcium mixed with the other vital minerals involved

Remedies for Bone Spur

Some home remedies for bone spurs are as follows:

  • A hot pack of flaxseed relieves the pain caused by bone spurs. Take some heated flaxseeds in a rough bandage like cloth, and bind it to the affected bone joints. The hot bandage with the flaxseeds will offer relief from the pain and discomfort of bone spurs.
  • You can apply a mixture of arnica oil and chamomile herbs decoction on the affected joints on a regular basis to cure the bone spur afflictions.
  • In the case of bone spurs becoming extremely painful, any sort of physical activity will increase the inflammation as well as the pain. On such occasions, you will need to stay off your feet and pamper yourself with warm baths with a pinch of Epsom salts. The flare-up will subside after a week or two.
  • Apply an ice pack to the inflamed area four of five times a day. In severe cases, a hot pad will be more useful than ice.
  • Omega -3 fatty acids may beneficial in case of inflammation. Include fish such as sardine, mackerel, and salmon in your daily diet to increase your intake of this nutrient. Alternately, you can ask your doctor whether you can have Omega -3 fatty acids 1000 mg supplements twice a day for relief from bone spurs.

Another one of the many effective home remedies for bone spurs in your foot would be to place a frozen water –bottle on the floor and keep moving it around with your foot. After ten minutes, you can once again place the bottle in the freezer and allow it to cool before repeating this process. Applying a cream that contains capsaicin will provide some relief. Although the cream may sting a bit, you will eventually get used to it. Always wear gloves when applying the medication.

Diet for Bone Spur

Dietary modifications can help to prevent as well as treat bones spurs. Talk to your doctor before you decide on a specific diet for bone spurs.

  • Increase your intake of healthy foods, especially foods with essential fatty acids and organic foods.
  • Avoid foods with hydrogenated fats, soft drinks or soda, junk foods like pizza, burgers and the likes as they contain various chemical additives that can interfere with calcium absorption.
  • You should also make sure that your diet plan includes plenty of foods that are rich in magnesium, calcium, and Vitamin D, as the combination of these minerals helps to prevent bone loss.

Suggestion for Bone Spur

In addition to dietary changes and home remedies for bone spurs, there are a number of methods to ease the discomfort caused by this condition.

  • You should do a few mild leg exercises as soon as you wake up as this will help to increase blood flow to your feet. You will need to remain seated while exercising so that you do not place unnecessary pressure on the injured foot. Slow leg lifts are often recommended for those with bone spurs, but it would be best to ask your healthcare provider for a list of the best bone spur exercises that would suit your requirements.
  • Heel pad shoe inserts are a must. These pads help to support the ankle and relieve the pain caused by the bone spur on the ball of your foot. Get shoe inserts that are meant specifically for your shoe size as ill fitting insoles can cause more damage than good.
  • When you remain seated at your desk for long periods, the circulation to your legs suffers and this will aggravate your condition. A few minutes of leg exercises once an hour will go a long way towards eliminating the problem.
  • Use cushions on the lower portion of your bed so that your legs are constantly elevated. This may be a little uncomfortable at first but it ill may help to decrease the pain in your feet.
  • Place a small stool below your desk in such a way that you can rest your feet on it. This will keep your feet slightly elevated throughout the day and prevent any kind of swelling and inflammation.

Bone health is a very important and often overlooked aspect of your overall health. Weakened bones will increase your risk of fractures and bone diseases and can severely impact your quality of life. Most of us do not consciously keep a track of our calcium and vitamin intake and while the effects may take a while to show, they are almost impossible to eliminate in later years. Increase your calcium intake especially if you are above 60 years and discuss you vitamin and mineral intake with your doctor or a nutritionist.

Bone Spur Treatments - more information
Bone Spur - Frequently asked questions
4 Bone Spur remedies suggested by our users
Heel Bone Spur
suggested by Diane on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Place a golf ball on the floor and roll the heel of your foot over the golf ball in a round and round motion 2 to 3 times a day and the spur will go away. Worked for me.

spine & neck tightness
suggested by tan on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Neck and back pains could be due to deficiencies in Magnesium, sometimes calcium & Vitamin D as well. Taking MgCl2; 10mgMg/Kg-bodyweight; 1 level teaspoon yields about 400mg Mg. 15-20 minutes bare skin under the sun yields about 1,000Iu VitD3. Foods such as fish liver oil & eggs contain Vitamin D. Calcium is found in foods such as yogurt, milk, bone broth, etc. but sometimes the amount is insufficient for people with extreme  deficiency, taking it in the form of supplement maybe necessary, 1 level teaspoon yields 4g Calcium, Lactate 2-3g/day may be needed.

Diet remedy
suggested by [unspecified] on Sunday, April 29, 2007

Start replacing the lost calcium. Eat a natural and easily aborbed form of calcium such as freshly ground hulled sesame seed tea (up to a tablespoon per cup of water. Can grind up using coffee grinder). You might want to start off with just a teaspoon as some people's stomach's get upset by raw sesame seed. Make sure to drink at least one cup of water 15-20 minutes after each. 3-5 cups daily if calcium loss is bad.

Bone spur
suggested by James on Thursday, June 22, 2006

see bone spur description DIET for bone spur; avoid phosphates and/or phosphoric acid found in soda and cola.