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Bone Spurs

What is a bone spur?

A bone spur (osteophyte) is a bony growth formed on normal bone. It’s usually smooth but can create pain and inflammation when it rubs against nerves, ligaments, tendons, or other bones. Bone spurs are fairly common in people over the age of 60 and are typically found in the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet.

What are the common symptoms of a bone spur?

Bone spurs can pinch the spinal cord or its nerve roots and may cause the following symptoms:

How is a bone spur diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a bone spur begins with a physical examination at which your physician will determine where your pain is coming from. It is unlikely that your doctor will be able to feel a bone spur in your spine. Your doctor will also review your full medical history to determine what causes may be contributing to your pain.

Your physician may use a variety of diagnostic imaging tools to confirm that a bone spur is present. These can include:

How are bone spurs treated nonsurgically?

Bone spurs are treated only if they are causing symptoms. Nonsurgical treatment options include:

What are the surgical treatment options for bone spurs?

If bone spurs are compressing the nerves and causing symptoms, surgery may be an option to consider. Surgical treatments for bone spurs include:

Disc replacement surgery

Disc replacement is most effective when the source of the pain is contained in the disc and the disc alone, and when the patient meets other qualifications, including a healthy weight, no prior major spine surgery, and no deformity in the spine.

More resources on disc replacement surgery:

Cervical discectomy and fusion

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a surgical procedure that involves relieving the pressure placed on nerve roots and/or the spinal cord by a herniated disc or bone spurs in the neck.

How is an ACDF performed?
Through a small incision made near the front of the neck, the surgeon:

Learn more about anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.


The goal of laminectomy is to relieve the bone spurs’ pressure on the spinal nerves that is causing your symptoms.

How laminectomy works:


A foraminotomy is another kind of decompression surgery that aims to reduce the pressure on your spinal nerves. The surgeon makes more room for the nerves by enlarging the opening the nerves travel through on their way out of the spinal canal.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise

Summit’s spine care team is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.

Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNVadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.