A bone spur is a spike of bone (osteophyte or exostosis) that usually forms at a joint interface or at the location of a tendon or ligament attachment. It appears as a hard lump and can cause discomfort either from the lump itself rubbing or when the joint jams because the bony lump is restricting joint motion.
Bone spurs can grow anywhere. In the feet they are commonly on the toes, at the big toe joint, on top of the foot or at the heel bone.
Bone spurs occur as a result of trauma, joint degeneration (arthritis) or mechanical dysfunction, or it may be congenital (something you are born with).
What are the symptoms of bone spurs? Symptoms commonly include a bony, hard lump that causes pain with movement, or irritation with footwear or hosiery. If they grow near a nerve they can cause nerve impingement symptoms, like pins and needles or shooting pains like an electric shock. An x-ray will show the extent of the spur, but sometimes other imaging such as a CT or MRI scan are needed to assess in more detail.
Bone spurs can be treated non-surgically mostly by accommodating in footwear or applying appropriate cushioning to protect the site. Surgery can involve resection of the bony lump in isolation, or it may require realignment surgery to address the dysfunction of the foot or specific joint that is involved.
Sometimes a bony spur can grow back, but most often once they are resected and any underlying deformity is addressed it is unlikely they should return.
Most concerns have more than one course of treatment. Feel free to contact us so one of our team can discuss options for your unique concern.