April 20, 2009

Causes, Symptoms & Remedies for Bone Spurs

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony protrusions that are formed along joints. Wrist bone spurs occur in the wrist region of the human body, although it can grow in the shoulder, knee, foot or neck areas as well. You might not even know that you have a wrist bone growth, until the bony projections start to irritate surrounding tissues.

What causes bone spurs though? Interesting enough, our bodies create these bone spurs due to inflammation that occurs due to degenerative arthritis or tendonitis. The inflammation sends stimulating signals to the brain to form bone or deposit bone in the affected area. Wrist bone spurs can also be caused due to trauma or using the wrong method when typing on a keyboard.

Your wrist is very important for strength, dexterity and mobility, and development of bone spurs in that area can sometimes cause decreased function of the upper extremity. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones, is broken down and the body then attempts to fix the loss by creating bone spurs close to the damaged area. Bone spurs often break of from the larger bone and become loose bodies. These loose bodies begin to then float in the joint or get embedded in the lining of the joint. Some times, they can also flow into areas in between the wrist bone area, causing irregular locking, which may prevent the joints from moving. A person suffering from wrist bone spur might notice locking of the joints happening quite often. This occurs due to the drifting of loose bodies, in and out of the joint Wrist bone spurs can also form due to aging but is more commonly found in the spine and feet.

The symptoms of wrist bone spurs are swelling, pain and tearing. A bone spur on the wrist doesn’t usually need treatment unless it causes pain and swelling. If the doctor suspects bone spurs as the reason for the inflammation, an X-ray to detect it will be advised. Bone spur on wrists’ treatment depends on the severity of the problem. In order to deal with this problem you need to give the affected area enough rest, you could also apply ice packs to the affected area and do some recommended stretching exercises. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also very helpful. Doctors should also educate patients of how to protect their joints, especially in cases of osteoarthritis. If pain is persistent despite treatment, a corticosteroid injection will be given at the affected area to decrease pain and inflammation. In some cases, the bone spurs are surgically removed as part of surgery to repair and replace the wrist joint where damage and deformity has occurred. Surgical procedures may involve cutting the skin to access the ligaments and bones. The removal of the bone spur may be done through an open surgery or arthroscopically. Arthroscopic procedures are conducted by inserting surgery tools and a camera into incisions in the skin, the surgeon uses the camera to find the bone spur and relies on it to direct implements for removal of the bone spur.

To avoid wrist bone spurs, avoid typing on the computer for long periods, and use a wrist brace. Ensure that your keyboard is at a level where the wrists shouldn’t be bent in an upward position, resting your hands periodically after long stints of typing. When using tools, make sure they have large handles so that you can have a good grip on it. Consult a physiotherapist to learn strengthening and flexibility exercises for your wrists. Splints, orthotics or braces can assist in reducing irritation caused by bone spurs.

Consume foods like milk, green leafy vegetables and important fatty acids as they help in keeping the bones strong. Calcium and vitamin D should be taken to fortify the bones, a glass of milk and/or a teaspoon of cod liver oil is excellent source of vitamin D. Increase in vitamin K, found in cauliflower can help cure bone spurs. Omega vitamins may also be advised as they assist in lubrication of the bones and joints to increase range of motion.

There are also home remedies which can be used in to help with bone spurs; however, there aren’t enough studies conducted to prove that it works. These are:

  • Ice Pack: To get respite from swelling and pain; place an ice pack on the affected area for about 7 to 10 minutes
  • Flaxseed Massages: Roast 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds in pan and let it cool till it gets warm to touch. Put the seeds in a muslin cloth, tie it firmly and gently massage the area
  • Chamomile Wash: Boil a cup of water and put a few chamomile flowers into it. Strain the water, allow it to cool and then wash the area with the concoction
  • Cold and Hot Bath: Hot and cold water bath treatment also helps with pain and swelling caused by the wrist bone spurs

Be sure to consult your doctor before administering any home remedies.


  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bone-spurs/DS00627/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis