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A bone spur is a generic term for an outgrowth of bone that can occur on almost any bone in the body. Also called an osteophyte, bone spurs can form in any bone but are most commonly found in joints, where two or more bones come together. In the lower extremity, bone spurs often are formed on areas of heavy stress, such as the big toe joint or where large tendons and ligaments attach (e.g., the heel bone).


  • Joint damage due to arthritis.
  • Trauma
  • Tendonitis


People tend to come to see us for bone spurs when the pain in their affected joints does not get relieved with simple at-home remedies, such as rest and anti-inflammatories. Sometimes the bone spur becomes so large and painful, it can cause micro-tears in the surrounding soft tissue. Bone spurs are a progressive problem, meaning they get worse with time. Typically, treating bone spurs early will allow for a more successful treatment outcome.


  • Tenderness on the foot
  • Palpable bony mass or knot
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain when walking
  • Swelling


Bone spurs can typically treated with conservative and surgical options, depending on the severity of the pain associated with the spur and the extent of the spurring.


Custom Molded-Orthotics—provide cushioning and support to the spurred areas.

Rest—Rest the affected area. Stay off of the foot to prevent pain. Walking, running, or playing sports may worsen the pain.

Anti-inflammatory Medication—Both oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications are very useful in treating bone spurs.

Ice—Apply ice to the affected area and reapply it for 15–20 minutes every three or four hours for the first 48 hours after the injury. Ice can decrease inflammation associated with the spur.

Elevation—Elevate the affected extremity on a stack of pillows; ideally, your foot or ankle should be higher than your heart. Keeping your foot or ankle elevated also decreases swelling.

Immobilization—A CAM immobilization boot may be dispensed to prevent movement of the affected joint. This aids in healing and decreases inflammation.

Physical Therapy—Physical therapy can assist in reducing inflammation and regaining mobility of the spurred joint.


If conservative options do not work, surgery is a viable option to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with bone spurs. In cases of severe bone spurs, where surrounding soft tissue may be injured, the surgeon would excise the spur and repair any surrounding soft tissue injury.