A bone spur, also called an osteophyte, is an abnormal growth of bone occurring at the edge of a bone, usually where two bones meet. Bone spurs most commonly form in the cervical (upper) spine, lumbar (lower) spine, heel, shoulder, and hip, but they can also be found in the knee, elbow, finger, and toe joint. The ends of normal, healthy bones are covered by cartilage, protecting them from rubbing against surrounding bones. When bone spurs appear, however, they do not form with that protective layer of cartilage, so they have the ability to cause a lot of pain.
The repetitive rubbing together of bones is the fundamental cause of bone spurs. After prolonged periods of overwork or overuse, cartilage becomes worn down, exposing bare bone that is vulnerable to degeneration. This happens often with people suffering from osteoarthritis and/or tendonitis, both of which are inflammatory conditions. The formation of bone spurs is the body's way of compensating for the wear and tear.
Bone spurs that grow in the knee joint mainly affect the elderly. They can grow on any of the three bones that make up the knee: the femur, tibia, or patella. Bone spurs that press against the surrounding tissues, tendons, cartilage, or bones can cause intense knee pain, often making it difficult to bend the knee. Furthermore, bone spurs can break off from the knee bone and become a "loose body", floating around causing disturbances to the normal functioning of the joint. A loose body can get stuck between the bones and cause occasional locking of the knee joint.
It is possible to have bone spurs in the knee joint without having any symptoms for a while. Some bone spurs are not particularly harmful or disruptive at first and are easily overlooked. However, when the condition becomes painful and/or the normal range of motion restricted, it is time to seek medical assistance. At Spine & Sports Medicine, our experts here will conduct a thorough examination and X-ray (if necessary) to properly detect any bone spurs. Some bone spurs can be felt by the hand, others are located in places that are undetectable solely by touch. They will assess the situation according to your symptoms, tests, and medical history. In some more severe cases, surgery is needed to remove the growth, followed by physical therapy rehabilitation. Because the knee joint needs to be able to bend to enable us to walk, bone spur interference can cause major movement dysfunctions. In general, a physical therapy treatment plan can help mitigate the pain caused by bone spurs. Working with a physical therapist to strengthen the structures in the knee and to increase flexibility can allow you to regain a normal range of motion and be free of pain. Electrical stimulation is sometimes used to reduce muscle spasms, pain, and inflammation. When bone spurs occur in the knee it is extremely important to seek medical help immediately. Major inflammation is a result of bone spurs in the knee and can cause chronic, excruciating pain.
Based on a meticulous examination, a diagnosis is made and a comprehensive treatment plan is devised tailored specifically to each unique situation. It is very important to seek professional advice and treatment when dealing with knee pain because this is a condition that can become very serious very quickly. Our experts here at Spine & Sports Medicine are professionals trained to diagnose each condition; they are also highly educated on the best treatments for each respective injury. It is crucial that the injury is diagnosed correctly; otherwise further damage may be done.
If you think you are suffering from a bone spur in the knee, call us now to make an immediate appointment (212 986-3888). A serious underlying medical problem may be present and delaying treatment can cause it to worsen. Our office is conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan, Madison Avenue and 40th Street. Most insurance covers bone spur treatment.
Let's get the paperwork out of the way!
Download and print PDF versions of our new patient forms so you can fill them out before you get here!
Or, if you'd prefer to speak with a live and lively person, call our receptionist to schedule your appointment.