Osteophytes

Osteophytes, also referred to as parrot beaks or bone spurs, is a name for the bone tissue overgrowth normally forming along the margins of the joints.They form so as to compensate for the existing degeneration of the joint bones and also ligaments as well due either injuries or age.They need not be confused with the enthesophytes, which on the other hand refers to the projections that usually form at the ligament and body tendons attachment.

Most often, bone spurs are formed along the human spine although they may be also formed on any of the body’s bones.In the spines, they do form naturally indicating aging of the person. They are usually not painful themselves i.e they are not responsible for back pains, but they can always cause the out branching nerves of the spinal to exhibit a lot pressure leading to so much pain in the upper and lower limbs and numbness in the hands and/or limbs. People with, bone spurs, do not experience any noticeable symptoms.

Bone spurs forming on a person’s toes or fingers are usually referred to as Heberden’s nodes or as Bouchard’s nodes depnding on the type of the interphalangeal joints they are in, that is, either in the proximal interphalangeal or the distal interphalangeal joints.

Spurs also appear on the feet( heels or toes) and the hands, shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, arms and even the ribs. In fact in extreme situations, it may grow along the entire skeletal structure of a person.

CAUSES OF OSTEOPHYTES.

For so long, several researches and studies have attributed the formation of the born spurs to the sequential changes in the formation of the body’s bones, that is due to degeneration as well as aging. They also can form in the joints in response to the joints experiencing bone mechanical instability such as mechanical injuries and damages.

It is also evident that bone spurs may be the result of certain infections and diseases such as Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis, Osteomyelitis, Charcot foot among many others which do often live a spur formed on that particular bone.

DIAGNOSING BONE SPURS

Bone spurs can be treated through the clinical exam best known as PIP examination i.e proximal interphalangeal joint examinaion or the DIP examination, which refers to the Distal interphalangeal joint examination and also the CMC joints examination, that is, the examination of the hand’s carpometacarpal joints. Diagnosis of spurs can also be through imaging studies including X-rays, MRI( Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Computer Tomography scans, best known as CT scans and also Electroconductive tests for nerve functioning assessment.

TREATMENT OF OSTEOPHYTES.

Bone spurs usually do not show serious symptoms hence do not require treatment, but those with symptoms like dizziness, headaches, back pains e.t.c, their treatment usually include:-

  • Rest.
  • Surgery – this should only be required in severe incidents of the spurs.
  • Use of Analgesics – also reffered to as as painkillers or pain relievers or pain medications such as percocet – oxycodone/APAP(14).
  • Use of supplements – herbal remedies and dietary supplements or even alternative supplements for individuals with arthritis
  • NSAIDs i.e the Antisteroidal Anti-inflamatory Drugs like the Indocin – Indomethacin (9), cortisone among many others.