4 Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Bone Spurs

May 7th 2016

Oral Medications

Doctors may start an initial treatment that includes over-the-counter or prescription pain medications to help ease your discomfort. Your physician may consider drugs such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids. This treatment method does not necessarily work for long-term pain relief, but drugs could ease your symptoms temporarily while your doctor assesses the next move.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy and regular exercise help strengthen muscles where the bone spur occurs. Physical therapists often recommend stretches, exercises and postures that increase muscle mass around the affected joint to increase range of motion and flexibility. For osteophytes in the heel caused by plantar fasciitis, a calf stretch against a wall may help stretch tight muscles in your feet and calves. A plantar fasciitis stretch occurs from the seated position while you cross your painful foot over the knee of the other leg. Slowly grasp the toes of your affected foot toward you. Types of stretches depend on the bone spur location, such as the back, foot or shoulder.


Cortisone injections help reduce swelling and pain in the affected joint. These shots provide temporary relief, and your doctor may repeat this treatment regimen more than once. Cortisone represents a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, but your doctor must be careful not to cause damage to the ligament or tendon due to multiple injections in the same area. A ruptured tendon may lead to even more pain. For a bone spur in the back, your doctor might recommend an epidural injection.


Simply resting the affected joint may reduce pain at first. If any forms of physical activity aggravate the bone spur, then do not engage in those types of movements. While you rest the joint, your doctor could ask you to try cold compresses to help lower any swelling in tissue that surrounds the bone spur.


Bone spurs materialize in humans as bone attempts to replace damaged cartilage, tendons or ligaments. These protrusions occur through the aging process or due to wear and tear on joints over long periods of time. Many bone spurs, technically called osteophytes, may never develop symptoms in a particular joint. Your doctor could recommend a few nonsurgical treatment options for bone spurs if you have pain.

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