Q:

Can a bone spur be life-threatening?

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Quick Answer

Bone spurs are not life-threatening because they may have no symptoms, may go unnoticed for years and may not require treatment, states Mayo Clinic. A bone spur is a bony growth that develops along the edges of bones. Bone spurs tend to develop in the joints and can also grow on the bones of the spine.

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Bone spurs mainly occur due to joint damage caused by osteoarthritis, explains Mayo Clinic. They may also occur when the body is trying to repair itself by building additional bones, and this occurs due to stress, rubbing and pressure that happen over time. Most people think a spur is something sharp, but it is just an extra smooth bone. However, it can cause pain or wear and tear if it presses against other bones or tissues such as nerves, ligaments and tendons.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage at the ends of the bones breaks down and wears off due to the aging process, according to WebMD. The disc that offers cushioning between the bones of the spine also breaks down. This leads to the formation of bone spurs. Treatment for bone spurs is only necessary when the spurs cause symptoms, notes MedicineNet. A local cold application can help when the bone spur is within reach. Doctors also use anti-inflammatory medications in treatment.

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