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What are bone spurs?
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Bone spurs are of two basic types. One is the kind that arises near a joint with osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. In this situation, the cartilage has been worn through and the bone responds by growing extra bone at the margins of the joint surface. These "spurs" carry the formal name "osteophytes." They are common features of the osteoarthritic shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and ankle. Removing these osteophytes is an important part of joint replacement surgery, but removing them without addressing the underlying arthritis is usually not effective in relieving symptoms.

The second type of bone spur is the kind that occurs when the attachment of ligaments or tendons to bone becomes calcified. This can occur on the bottom of the foot around the Achilles Tendon and in the coracoacromial ligament of the shoulder. These spurs often look impressive on X-rays, but because they are in the substance of the ligaments rarely cause sufficient problems to merit excision.

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