A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a small outgrowth of extra bone. Bone spurs can occur along any bony surface of the body, including fingers.
In many instances, spurs exist undetected, but they are more easily observed on the fingers, where the skin is thinner. They can be palpated as small, hard lumps that give the appearance of a deformed digit.
Joint conditions, like osteoarthritis, can cause bone spurs. Spurs can also surface naturally with age; a result of the body attempting to support itself by creating extra bone where it has been worn away.
The most commonly associated symptoms of bone spurs are pain and decreased range of motion. Pain is caused by contact between spurs and adjacent bone or tissue.
Occasionally, spurs detach from bones and lodge in the joint's synovial lining. This causes stiffness, or "locking up" of joints, and temporarily prevents movement.
Few people experience side effects from bone spurs, and action is usually necessary only if quality of life is diminished. X-Rays are used to determine the existence of a bone spur, and treatment often includes ice, rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgery.
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