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Where do bone spurs occur?
Bone spurs develop in areas of inflammation or injury in nearby cartilage or tendons. Common locations for bone spurs are in the back, or sole, of the heel bone of the foot, around joints that have degenerated cartilage, and in the spine adjacent to degenerated discs. Congenital types (osteochondromas) commonly occur around the growth areas of the shoulder and knee.
What are symptoms of bone spurs?
Bone spurs may or may not cause symptoms. When they do cause symptoms, the symptoms depend on their location. Bone spurs can be associated with pain, numbness, and tenderness if they are irritating adjacent tissues, such as skin, fat pads, nerves, or tendons.
Heel spurs cause local foot pain, tenderness, and sometimes swelling. This can lead to difficulty walking due to pain at the bottom of the foot with weight-bearing. Sometimes there is accompanying inflammation of the entire bottom of the foot (plantar fasciitis) when the heel spur occurs in the bottom of the heel bone. Occasionally, bone spurs in this location are a result of inflammatory arthritis, such as from reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH or Forrestier's disease).
Spurs in the spine can pinch adjacent nerves to cause numbness, tingling, and pain as well as weakness in the area of the body supplied by the affected nerve.
Some bone spurs do not cause symptoms and are incidentally detected by X-ray tests that are performed for other reasons. These spurs may have formed because of past injury to nearby tissues, such as tendons, that caused local inflammation of the bone, leading to the development of the bone spur.