Bone Spurs

What are Bone Spurs?

Bone spurs (also called osteophytes or enthesophytes) are bony growths that can stick into tissue and cause problems. In the shoulder the two main types of bone spurs are acromial and humeral (see picture). Acromial bone spurs grow off the upper part of the shoulder and are associated with impingement syndrome. Humeral bone spurs grow off the lower part of the ball of the shoulder and are associated with arthritis.

What is the cause of Bone Spurs?

The cause of bone spurs is not well understood.

What are the symptoms of Bone Spurs?

The main symptom of a bone spur is usually pain. This can be pain at end-range-of-motion (The Crank Test), mid-range-of-motion, with use, at rest, and at night. The person may also feel grinding or catching or clicking.

How can you tell if you have Bone Spurs?

To diagnosis bone spurs an x-ray is usually all that is needed. Sometimes a MRI is also helpful.

How are Bone Spurs treated?

The treatment for acromial bone spurs used to be mostly surgical but now with a newer type of therapy program, referred to as Four Quadrant Stretching, most people do not need surgery to make their pain go away (see impingement syndrome).

The treatment for humeral bone spurs can depend on the size of the bone spur and the amount of pain the person is having. Small bone spurs with few symptoms are best ignored. Medium size bone spurs often are treated with a specialized therapy program. Large bone spurs causing a lot of pain are often treated with a shoulder replacement surgery. Just removing the bone spurs with surgery does not seem to take the pain away and is not usually done.

shoulder no bone spur

Normal shoulder

Acromial bone spur

humeral bone spur2

Humeral bone spur