Osteophyte (bone spur)

Osteophytes (bone spurs) are bony lumps that grow on the bones in the spine or around joints. They form when a joint or bone has been damaged by arthritis, but do not always cause problems.

Symptoms of an osteophyte

Osteophytes often do not cause any problems. You may only find out you have one when you have an X-ray for another reason.

But they can sometimes cause problems if they rub against bone or muscles, affect your movement or put pressure on nerves.

The main symptom of an osteophyte is pain and stiffness.

Other symptoms depend on where in the body the osteophyte has formed.

They can include:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have joint pain or stiffness
  • you have numbness, nerve pain or weakness in any part of your body

Treatments for osteophytes

Osteophytes only need to be treated if they cause problems such as pain or stiffness.

As osteophytes are closely linked to arthritis, the treatments you might need are the same as treatments for arthritis.

Treatment may include:

Page last reviewed: 22 December 2022
Next review due: 22 December 2025