Bone Spurs In Shoulder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

A bone spur, also known as osteophytes, is the abnormal growth of bone, which can occur as someone grows older in age. Here is everything you need to know about bone spurs in the shoulder and when you should go to an orthopedic surgeon.

Symptoms Of Bone Spurs

If you want to know how to treat a bone spur, it’s crucial to know how to spot them first. Here are the main symptoms of bone spurs or osteophytes.

  • There will be physical deformation in the bone. You can see the shoulder being in a weird shape, even through your skin.
  • Swelling is also a symptom. The shoulder will be swollen and you will have a hard time moving it around.
  • There will be a pain, which increases in intensity as you leave the spur untreated. The pain will also increase as the deformation gets more pronounced. This is because the bone is growing and poking the muscles and nerves somewhere, which is causing you a lot of pain and discomfort.
  • Where there are nerves involved, there is going to be some degree of numbness. Although this is quite a rare symptom, if the spur is old and untreated and it’s poking the nearby nerves, then it’s going to make the affected area numb and a sensation of tingling pain will take over, which is quite uncomfortable.

How Is A Bone Spur Diagnosed?

Now that you know the symptoms of a shoulder spur, it’s important to list out the ways by which it can be diagnosed, so that when you feel any of the above symptoms, you can consult with a doctor right away.

The first and easiest way of diagnosing a shoulder bone spur is by looking at the area around your shoulder. If there is physical deformation in the bone, then it means that something is wrong with the bone and you need to have an x-ray done on the area to confirm the suspicions. But this is not a foolproof way to determine the presence of a bone spur, because some bone spurs are too small to impart physical deformation and you can’t see them with the naked eye.

The next best option to go for is an x-ray. An x-ray will give a clear image of what’s going on with your shoulder. It can also be seen through a CT scan and an MRI.

Before an x-ray is conducted, the doctor will go forth with a physical examination of the shoulder where your shoulder will be checked for deformities. The area will be palpated, any weird abnormalities will be checked, before giving you the all-clear for the x-ray.

Treatment Of Bone Spurs

Here are some treatment options for bone spurs in the shoulder.

  • The most common way of removing a shoulder bone spur is through arthroscopy. An arthroscopy is a process where a small incision is made where the bone spur is and a camera is inserted to scope the spur. Afterward, the excess bone tissue can be removed, which is going to make a world of a difference in the pain and discomfort you’re feeling.
  • You can try over-the-counter medicine for the pain and discomfort.
  • Steroid injections are prescribed for smaller and more manageable spurs.
  • Physical therapy works wonders for the shoulder pain you’re feeling.
  • Hot and cold compresses can also lead to good results and you will feel a lot better and the swelling will be reduced too.

Are Bone Spurs Dangerous?

Bone spurs are not necessarily dangerous, per se. They are not life-threatening, by any means, but that doesn’t mean that you have to live with them.

Bone spurs, though generally harmless, can lead to excruciating pain and discomfort in the shoulder area and if this is causing problems with your daily life activities, then it is an issue you need to resolve. The pain and general discomfort are what’s hard to deal with.


There you have it! Bone growth in the shoulder can be due to multiple reasons, but the main one is the degenerative or weak joints and it can result in extreme pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing the symptoms, find a shoulder specialist Woodbridge as soon as possible.

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