A 34-year-old member asked:
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what is the main difference between bone spurs and osteoarthritis?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Joel McClurg
Specializes in Orthopedic Surgery
Big difference: Bone spurs occur at the margins of the joint while osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the cartilage surfaces in the joint. Bone spurs are normally harbingers of osteoarthrits although it is possible to have oa without bone spur formation. It is unclear exactly why bone spurs form around arthritic joints. It is uncommon to develop bone spurs around non arthritic joints.
Answered on May 22, 2016
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Dr. Vishal Shah
Dr. Vishal Shah commented
18 years experience Orthopedic Surgery
This is a great explanation. In addition, some patients can develop "bone spurs" in areas outside of a joint that ARE UNRELATED to osteoarthritis. This is typically at the attachment site of a tendon or ligament as in the shoulder (bone spur above the rotator cuff) or the heel (heel spur at the insertion of the plantar fascia). Spurs themselves don't need to be treated unless they cause symptoms.
Nov 9, 2011
Dr. Thomas Deberardino
31 years experience Orthopedic Surgery
They "go together": Bone spurs are simply one manifestation of osteoarthritis as it becomes progressively worse. Symptoms inlude intermittent or constant joint swelling and concomitant pain, ocassional catching or locking, difficulty walking, and eventualloss of overall joint function.
Answered on May 15, 2015

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