What does osteophyte wood

What is an osteophyte (bone spur)?

An osteophyte is a smooth bone growth or deposit, also called a bone spur. They grow slowly over time and often have no symptoms. They can cause pain when they hit other structures or become so large that they restrict movement in a joint. They are also sometimes called osteochondral nodules, osteochondrophytes, and chondroosteophytes.

Osteophytes in arthritis

Osteophytes often develop in joints that show signs of degeneration.

They are linked to the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Their presence can serve to differentiate osteoarthritis from other types of arthritis. While osteoarthritis involves cartilage breakdown, there is also remodeling of the subchondral bone in the joint, which can include the formation of bone spurs.

Osteophyte formation

An osteophyte is technically a cartilaginous growth of cartilage that comes from progenitor cells in the periosteum, the tissue that lines the bones and contains the cells that make new bones. The transforming growth factor β plays a role in their development.

An osteophyte develops when the remaining cartilage in a damaged joint attempts to repair it after cartilage loss has occurred elsewhere in the joint. It tends to form in the joint compartment where cartilage loss has occurred, suggesting that it is a localized event. Osteophyte formation stabilizes the damaged joint.

That is, exactly how they form and what stimulates their formation is not fully understood. Osteophytes can also develop without explicit cartilage damage.

Location of osteophyte formation

Marginal osteophytes can develop on the periphery or edge of a joint. Central osteophytes are most pronounced in the hip and knee.

Osteophytes can also be found in the spinal region, where they are associated with back or neck pain and are a common sign of degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). In the spine, an osteophyte or bone spur can cause nerve hits (compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots) on the neuroforamen (the empty space to the left and right of each vertebra that allows nerves to travel from the spinal cord to other parts of the body). Sensory symptoms in this situation are pain, numbness, burning, and needles in the extremity served by the affected spinal nerve root. Motor symptoms include muscle spasms, cramps, weakness, or loss of muscle control in an associated part of the body. The osteophyte itself is not painful, but its location, and therefore its effect on other structures in the body, can cause pain.

Risk factors for osteophyte formation

Certain factors and conditions are thought to contribute to osteophyte formation. This includes:

  • Increased age
  • Disco degeneration
  • Joint degeneration
  • Sports injuries or other joint injuries
  • Bad posture
  • genetics
  • Congenital skeletal abnormalities

Diagnosis of osteophytes

Osteophyte formation in the hand can be diagnosed by a physical exam of the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP), distal interphalangeal joint (DIP), and first carpometacarpal joint (CMC).

Simply put, a bump or lump may be visible in the hand during a physical exam.

For other joints, the presence of an osteophyte can be diagnosed with imaging tests such as an X-ray or an MRI or CT scan. When x-rays were done on people over the age of 50, most of them showed signs of osteophyte formation. Most osteophytes, however, show no symptoms. Only about 40 percent of people with osteophytes develop symptoms that require treatment.

Treatment of osteophytes

The presence of an osteophyte alone is not clinically significant unless associated symptoms have occurred. Treatment can include:

  • physical therapy
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Analgesics (pain relievers)
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery: In the spine, it may be necessary to remove an osteophyte for direct decompression of nerve impingement or to increase the width of the spinal canal to reduce pinching by the osteophyte.

Typically, conservative treatment is attempted first. Surgery is reserved for people with severe symptoms. Activity tends to increase the pain associated with an osteophyte, while rest helps relieve pain.