Bone spurs—medically known as osteophytes—are abnormal growths of bone that typically occur where two or more bones meet. Some people may notice bone spurs only because they see or feel a hard bump or lump beneath the skin. Others, however, experience moderate to severe pain that makes it difficult to stand, walk, or wear shoes. Though bone spurs can occur anywhere on the body, including the hands, spine, hips, and knees, bone spurs on the feet are most common.
Why bone spurs occur on the feet
If you develop bone spurs on the bottom of your feet, you may be wondering, “why are they here and how did they get there”? The most common cause of bone spurs is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between the bones deteriorates over time. To compensate for the missing cartilage — which acts as a cushion for your joints — your body may produce excess bone. Though meant to replace that “cushion” and improve comfort, bone spurs often do the opposite and cause discomfort or even pain.
Osteoarthritis is not the only cause of bone spurs. Certain activities increase a person’s risk for developing bone spurs on feet, including running, dancing, and exercise. Bone spurs may be the result of cartilage wearing down due to excess activity. Other causes of bone spurs include obesity, injury, and wearing tight shoes.
Symptoms of bone spurs
In some cases, the only indication of a bone spur is a smooth lump or bump on the foot. In others, the affected person may not even realize he or she has a bone spur until an X-ray is done to detect another condition, revealing the abnormal growth. Additionally, bone spurs cause problems when they press on the tendons, nerves, and other body structures. If this occurs, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain at the site of the joint
- Pain or stiffness when you try to stand, walk or flex your foot
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in your legs
- Cramps and muscle spasms
In extreme cases, bone spurs on feet interfere with specific spinal nerves. In addition to causing numbness and weakness, it could lead to troubles controlling your bowel or bladder movements.
Bone spur treatment
For most people, treating bone spurs on feet is more a matter of relieving pain than removing the actual bone growth. When dealing with bone spurs on the bottom of your feet, you may find that making simple lifestyle changes is all you need to do to increase your comfort and mobility. Those changes may include losing weight, changing shoes, using shoe inserts, and resting the affected area.
There are also specific natural remedies you can try at home for immediate relief for bone spurs on feet. Some remedies to try to include the following:
- Hot and ice therapy, which can help relieve pain and stiffness and reduce inflammation
- OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen
- Borax and water salve, which can help control calcium buildup
- Epson salt bath, which can help to relieve pain
- Fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and great for arthritis
If at-home remedies don’t work, you might want to consider a massage. Massages can increase blood flow throughout the body and enhance the body’s natural healing processes.
If non-invasive methods and lifestyle changes do relieve your pain, you may want to talk to your podiatrist about clinical bone spur treatment. For bone spurs on feet, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection, which can put a halt to inflammation. Only in extreme cases, may your doctor recommend surgery to remove the excess growth.
Contact Arizona Foot Doctors for treatment
The bone spurs on the bottom of your feet should cause you little to no pain or discomfort. However, if the spurs interfere with your ability to stand, walk, or go about your daily routine, speak with our podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors. We will work with you to provide care tailored to your lifestyle and needs so that you can meet your pain management goals.