Arthritis Q&A by Dr. Shiel

What causes bone spurs on the spine?


A bone spur is a small piece of bone that projects from the normal bone around joints. Spurs usually are caused by inflammation that stimulates formation of new bone. Examples of causes of local inflammation at the edge of joints that cause spurs are inflammation of the tendons and ligaments that attach to the bone. For example, inflammation of the ligament that surrounds a degenerating disc between the vertebrae (bony building blocks of the spine) is a very common cause of bone spurs of the spine.

Bone spurs also are common elsewhere in the body, such as at the point of attachment of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Inflammation of this tendon is one of the causes of heel spurs.

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Last Editorial Review: 2/5/2007

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