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Bone Spurs (Osteophytes) Exercises

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022
Bone spurs are extra pieces of bone that form along the edges of bone. They are also sometimes called osteophytes, and often develop in the joints, where one bone meets another. Bone spurs can also develop on the bones of the spine.
Bone spurs often form because of osteoarthritis and because of the normal wear-and-tear damage associated with aging. Many people with bone spurs have no symptoms and don’t realize osteophytes have formed. The treatment for bone spurs depends on where they are located and what effects they have on your health. Sometimes, no treatment is required.
There are exercises for bone spur treatment and degenerative joint diseases which need to be monitored and overseen by doctors and specialists to prevent further damage to the affected area.

If you have bone spurs, your doctor may have suggested physical therapy. A physical therapist can help you with exercises to strengthen the muscles around the bone spurs and help increase your mobility.

Gentle stretches are sometimes recommended to help reduce the pain of bone spurs and increase flexibility. Some of these may include:

Shoulder Roll

  • Stretching the back and neck can help relieve pain from bone spurs and it also promotes flexibility. Stretches of bone spurs may include lateral and flexion neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and stretches of the upper back. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any of these, especially if you’ve had surgery recently for bone spurs or other conditions.
  • To complete a shoulder roll:

a) Start in a standing or sitting position,

b) Bend your elbows,

c) Slowly rotate your shoulders forward ten times, keeping your shoulder blades together,

d) Now, rotate your shoulders backward ten times.

For Heels

Some people experience heel pain which is due to bone spurs or osteophytes on the heel. Doing heel spur exercises can strengthen the tissue surrounding the heel and the plantar fascia. These types of exercises also help keep the Achilles tendon and the fascia flexible.
Heel spur exercises can help reduce the heel pain and also prevent further heel spurs and even other conditions like plantar fasciitis from occurring. There have been a lot of instances where strengthening and stretching the heels with additional support from orthotic inserts can treat heel spurs and similar conditions.
Exercise #1
  • Lean forward against a wall.
  • One knee should be straight, one should be bent.
  • Both heels need to be on the ground.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Straighten up and relax.
  • Repeat 20 times.
Exercise #2
  • Lean forward to a countertop.
  • Spread your feet apart and place one foot in front of the other.
  • Flex your knees.
  • Squat down with your heels on the ground for as long as possible.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Straighten up and relax.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Neck Roll

These exercises for bone spurs can be done standing or sitting.

For the lateral neck roll:

  • Slowly tilt your head toward your left should as far as you comfortably can.
  • Hold this position for a count of 3.
  • Return to center.
  • Slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder as far as you comfortably can.
  • Hold this position for a count of 3.
  • Return to center.
  • Repeat ten times.

For the flexion neck roll:

  • Slowly bend your chin down toward your chest, as far as you comfortably can.
  • Hold this position for a count of three.
  • Return your head to an upright position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Upper-Back Stretches

These stretches are done standing. They may ease the pain of bone spurs.

Starting position: Standing, feet about shoulder-width apart, hands on hips.

  • Slowly let your head drop forward, keeping your back rounded until you feel a gentle stretch in your back
  • Your shoulder blades should spread naturally apart as you are stretching
  • Hold the stretch for a count of three
  • Return slowly to the starting position, rest briefly
  • Repeat ten times

Hamstring stretches

These stretches will help low back stress and pain, which can also relieve pain caused by bone spurs and related tension in the neck and upper back.

A simple hamstring stretch can be done lying on the floor using a towel:

  • Raise one leg up until you feel stretching in the hamstring
  • Place a towel in the middle of your foot and, using both of your hands, lift your leg just a little higher.
  • Hold this position for a count of three
  • Lower your leg
  • Repeat 5 times
  • Repeat with your other leg

Activities like swimming, walking, biking or using an elliptical machine are low-impact aerobics and they can help to strengthen muscles and relieve pain associated with bone spurs. Avoid activities like tennis, spinning and running. These are high-impact and are not recommended for people with bone spurs.

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