Bone Spur of Wrist

Bone Spur of Wrist

Bone, Muscle, & Joint
Diseases & Conditions
Contributed byKrish Tangella MD, MBAFeb 20, 2018

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Benign Bone Spur of Wrist
  • Osteophytes of Wrist

What is Bone Spur of Wrist? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Bone spur is an abnormal bone growth that can develop on the surface of bones. Usually, bone spurs are not painful by themselves, but may cause pain when they rub against the nerves and press surrounding tissue
  • Bone spurs may develop on the surface of any bone. It most commonly involves the bones of the feet, elbow, and spine. Joint damage caused by degenerative joint disease, such as osteoarthritis, is the primary cause of bone spur in the joints
  • Individuals with Bone Spurs of Wrist rarely experience any signs or symptoms. However, in some cases, individuals may experience pain in the wrist
  • A majority of Bone Spurs of the Wrist grow very slowly and are stable. However, in some cases, the growth is more rapid and unpredictable. In these cases, the healthcare provider may recommend surgery to remove the bone spurs
  • Over-the-counter oral medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are recommended if the condition is painful. Surgery may be required, if Bone Spurs of the Wrist reduce an individual's range of motion in the affected wrist joint, presses on nerves, or if the pain is not controlled by medication
  • The prognosis of Bone Spurs of Wrist is usually good and conservative methods are usually effective in treating many individuals. However, occasionally, a recurrence of the condition is noted

Who gets Bone Spur of Wrist? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Bone Spurs of Wrist may occur in individuals of all ages, races, ethnic groups, and genders
  • No geographical localization has been noted

What are the Risk Factors for Bone Spur of Wrist? (Predisposing Factors)

The common risk factors for Bone Spurs of the Wrist include:

  • Advanced age
  • Repetitive stress on the wrist caused by participation in high-impact sports
  • Excessive body weight associated with obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis
  • Heredity predisposition; a family history of bone spurs

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases one’s chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Bone Spur of Wrist? (Etiology)

  • Bone Spurs of the Wrist are usually caused by a disease or condition that results from a degeneration of the cartilage
  • Excess bone formation occurs as a result of the body’s response to abnormal pressure on the affected area of the bone

In other words, bone spurs are caused as part of a reactive process to a bone injury.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bone Spur of Wrist?

In many individuals, bones spurs are not painful by themselves and cause no significant signs or symptoms. However, in some, certain symptoms may develop depending on the severity of the condition.

The signs and symptoms of Bone Spurs of Wrist include:

  • The appearance of a bony mass under the skin, on the wrist
  • Uncontrollable pain in the wrist
  • Numbness, feeling of weakness, tingling sensation of the wrist joint may be observed, if the surrounding nerves are pinched
  • Decreased range of motion of the wrist

How is Bone Spur of Wrist Diagnosed?

Bone Spurs of Wrist may be diagnosed by the following observations and tests:

  • A complete physical examination with thorough evaluation of medical history
  • X-ray of the wrist: X-rays are noninvasive medical tests that use radiation to produce images of the bone
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan of the wrist: A CT scan takes a series of X-ray images from several different angles. These images are then merged to create cross-sectional images of bones and soft tissues with the body
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the wrist: An MRI is a more detailed scan that uses radio waves and a magnetic field that generates thorough images of interior bones and soft tissues
  • Electromyography (EMG): An EMG shows the electrical activity of the muscle during rest and muscle contraction. This test may be performed if the signs and symptoms indicate that there is muscle or nerve damage
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) studies: Nerve conduction velocity shows the speed at which electrical signals move through the affected nerve. Slow nerve signal speed may indicate nerve damage

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Bone Spur of Wrist?

The possible complications of Bone Spurs of Wrist include:

  • Without treatment, in some individuals, bone spurs can cause severe uncontrollable pain, by impinging on surrounding structures such as the tendons and nerves
  • Surgery to remove bone spurs may lead to the following complications:
    • Infection at the site of surgery
    • Poor wound closure
    • Anesthetic complications
  • Permanent damage to the nerves in the wrist
  • Occasionally, relief from surgery may only be temporary, since bone spurs may grow back (recurrent bone spurs)

How is Bone Spur of Wrist Treated?

The methods for treating Bone Spurs of Wrist depend on the severity of the signs and symptoms. Conservative methods for individuals with mild to moderate pain may include:

  • Rest: Any activity that aggravates the condition further should be avoided. The healthcare provider may advise individuals to refrain from participating in certain activities, until the symptoms get better
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory oral medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen may be used to treat bone spurs. These medications can help decrease pain and swelling
  • Corticosteroid injections help provide temporary relief of symptoms, and in improving the range of motion. It is important to note that corticosteroid injections only give temporary relief. Prolonged episodes of such injections may injure the joints in the long-run
  • Physical therapy exercises that include strengthening and improving flexibility in the wrist can help reduce discomfort. It can also help decrease pressure on the nerves

Surgical treatment for Bone Spurs of the Wrist: If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended. A common surgical procedure is:

  • Bone spur removal: This procedure involves the surgical removal of any abnormal bony growth in the wrist

How can Bone Spur of Wrist be Prevented?

Bone Spurs of Wrist is a condition that cannot be prevented in most individuals. However, in some cases, following certain guidelines may help reduce the risk of developing bone spurs.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Take frequent breaks while working on the computer to limit repetitive wrist action
  • Limit activities that may involve repetitive stress on the wrist; wear appropriate safety equipment when participating in any (high-impact) sports. Significant stress on the wrist joints may lead to the development of bone spurs

What is the Prognosis of Bone Spur of Wrist? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • In a majority of cases, the prognosis of Bone Spurs of Wrist is usually good and symptoms are resolved with suitable conservative treatment
  • However, there is still a risk that the bone spur will continue to grow. in these cases, a healthcare provider will recommend surgery to treat the condition
  • Occasionally, recurrent bone spurs may be observed and the relief obtained from surgery may only be temporary

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Bone Spurs of Wrist:

Please visit the following link for more information on bone spur removal surgical procedure that may be performed if Bone Spurs develop on any surface of the bones.

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Krish Tangella MD, MBA

Pathology, Medical Editorial Board, DoveMed Team


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