An elbow bone spur is a bone overgrowth in the elbow. Bone spurs are also called osteophytes.
Bone spurs in the elbow affect the protective tissue that covers the edges of the joint bones. This can create an issue where bone is directly touching bone, leading to discomfort and pain.
Injuries sometimes cause bone spurs. This is because bone spurs are a result of the bone attempting to heal itself, using additional bone growth over the affected area.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of bone spurs in the elbow.
Your doctor may recommend that you rest your elbow in order to reduce the irritation that the bone spur is causing you. When a bone spur is rubbing against the surrounding tissues and creating inflammation, this also causes pain. Reducing the rubbing will also reduce the inflammation and pain.
The doctor may offer a piece of physical gear to wear to reduce the movement of your elbow. An elbow sleeve is one example of this gear. This is a form of forced elbow resting. Changes in activity also may be suggested.
An anti-inflammatory medicine may be administered to those suffering from elbow bone spurs. This will reduce the pain and the swelling that results from the agitation to the tissue surrounding the bone spur in the elbow.
Over-the-counter options such as Ibuprofen will work for this. If necessary, a physician may prescribe a stronger medication to reduce the swelling around the elbow.
Applying an ice pack to the elbow area may assist in reducing the inflammation. This method will also have a temporary numbing effect on the pain.
Gently massaging the elbow area with the ice pack is also a recommended method of treatment.
A physician may direct a patient with an elbow bone spur to visit an orthopaedic surgeon. This is the most invasive method of treatment. It is also the only treatment that involves more than simply treating the symptoms of the problem.
There is no guaranteed permanent treatment option for an elbow bone spur, but surgery is the longest lasting treatment available.
An individual who has undergone a surgical procedure to eliminate the bone spur on their elbow may need to visit a physical therapist.
A physical therapist will train the recovering surgical patient in behavioural modifications to reduce the risk of the return of the elbow bone spur.