A bone spur is a small bony growth attached to a normal bone. Most people think bone spurs are sharp jagged objects, but they are simply an extra bone protruding out from regular bone. They are normally smooth, but because they are not supposed to be there, they cause pain and additional injury to surrounding bones, tissues and joints in the shoulder.
Causes of Shoulder Bone Spurs
Bone spurs form as the body tries to heal itself through growing extra bone. Unfortunately the body’s misguided attempt only adds to the problem. Shoulder spurs typically form over time in response to pressure, stress and rubbing.
Other shoulder bone spurs form as cartilage in the shoulder wears down over time leading to osteoarthritis. Most shoulder bone spurs are caused by repetitive use or injury – not because of aging. Those types of spurs are more common in the feet and spine.
Shoulder bone spurs are common because of the complex nature of the shoulder. It is the only joint in the human body that can move with complete range of motion in all directions. Over time, the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up your shoulder can wear against one another.
As these tendons move through the narrow space between the top of the shoulder and the upper arm, they can rub on the bones. Bone spurs can form in this narrow area that can lead to a pinching of the rotator cuff tendons resulting in irritation, inflammation, stiffness, weakness, pain and even a tearing of the tendon.
This condition commonly occurs with age and/or repetitive use of the shoulder. It is also common in athletes, especially baseball players and tennis players, as well as painters who frequently work with their arms above their heads.
Shoulder Bone Spur Symptoms
A lot of people have bone spurs in their shoulders but do not know it. That’s because many of them do not cause any symptoms at all. Symptoms typically occur when the bone spur is rubbing on other bone, muscles or tendons. This can cause irritation, inflammation and pain which can increase over time as the protective tissues are broken down even further over time.
Shoulder bone spurs are detectable fairly easily using x-ray technology. Treatments methods vary, but may include:
- Weight loss to relieve pressure
- Stretching the affected area
- Ultrasound or deep tissue massage
- Heat and ice applied to the affected area
- A corticosteroid injection
- Surgery to remove the bone spur
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms see the best orthopedic shoulder surgeon in Phoenix to discuss your options moving forward.
Dr. Sumit Dewanjee is a Board Certified & Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine surgeon in Phoenix. He is one of the orthopedic surgeons Phoenix AZ who performs an incredible amount of arthroscopic surgery and can treat your shoulder problem with the most minimally invasive procedure possible.