Have you noticed a new bump on your foot? One that isn't painful, doesn’t itch like a bug bite, or have any other obvious wounds or skin issues around it that could be the cause? Before you start scrolling through all of the gnarly ailments that can affect our appendages, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a bone spur.
As scary as this might sound, most bone spurs (also known by their fancy scientific name osteophytes) are completely harmless. According to Healthline, these are most frequently caused by osteoarthritis, which also happens to be the most common form of arthritis. The bumps form when the cartilage between our bones deteriorates over time, which is why the biggest risk factor for getting them is simply, aging. Other potential causes include physical activity that puts excess stress on your feet, gaining extra weight that also adds stress to your feet, wearing shoes that are too tight or don’t fit properly, and having flat feet or low arches that can strain your joints.
Bone spurs also don’t exclusively pop up on the top of our feet. They can develop on our toes, heels, knees, hips, spines, shoulders, and ankles. Basically anywhere you might be adding extra pressure to your bones over time. Although they are usually “silent” or painless, New Mexico Orthopedics explains that they can cause issues if they rub against other bones, ligaments, tendons, or nerves in your body. In those cases, you’ll want to talk with your doctor about treatment options.
Harvard Medical School lists simple remedies like taking over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen or physical therapy to improve flexibility and strength. If a bone spur causes your joints to become swollen and painful, you might need a cortisone injection to calm things down. Surgery is sometimes recommended, but can be avoided for the most part. Because they're bone growths, surgery is also the only way to make them disappear completely rather than just managing any pain they might cause. Everyone is different, so again, you’ll need to check with your doctor to decide what’s best for your case.
We should all be more mindful of all the stress and pressure we put on our bodies and take it a bit easier on ourselves when we can.