What are bone spurs anyway?
Joints connect several bones in the body. These joints should be stable and make a smooth, natural movement. Joints become unstable and move out of place. The body reacts, growing bits of bone along the edges of the joint to compensate. These protrusions of bone are called bone spurs or osteophytes. Bone spurs can happen at any joint in the body, including the spine. Bone spurs in the hand appear as bumps on the joints of the hand. Most spurs are harmless. However, some can press on nerves or restrict joint movement. In these cases, persons with bone spurs need some medical intervention.
Spurred on by osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the biggest cause of bone spurs in the hand. Arthritis in the hand impacts an average of 7% of Americans 26 and older. This arthritis causes joint cartilage to break down. That smooth cartilage protects joints and prevents shock absorption. Arthritis can also form due to aging joints or a past injury. With degraded cartilage, joints become unstable and can’t move naturally. Bone spurs then develop to compensate for the degenerated cartilage.
Other reasons for spurs
Age-related arthritis is not the only cause of extra growth. A past injury or surgical procedure can cause trauma or early arthritis. Spurs will grow to compensate in the hands. Joints can also form spurs from overuse, for example, in a job that uses repetitive hand movements. Other reasons include genetics, obesity, and diabetes.
Getting the right treatment
The treatment for bone spurs looks similar to that of arthritis. Doctors will first prescribe over the counter, anti-inflammatory medication. If pain persists, several rounds of physical therapy can reduce pain and restore range of motion. Treatments could also include steroid injections.
Treating bone spurs under the knife
In serious cases, doctors can use bone spur repair surgery. By making small incisions in the hand, surgeons can use minimally invasive techniques to remove bone spurs. Repair surgery is effective and has a high success rate. Some persons may even need joint replacement or joint fusion surgery. Doctors may opt to replace the damaged joint or fuse the bones.
Get help for bone spurs today
Bone spurs can cause pain and discomfort in the hands if left untreated. These spurs could be a sign of arthritis. If protrusions or small knobs appear on the hands, seek advice from a doctor immediately. From there, the doctor can assess and recommend the best treatment options available.