Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are tiny bony outgrowths that form along joint margins. Bone spurs normally happen on the back of the spine as a person ages. However, they can also appear on the feet, either along toes or the heel, as well as on the hands.
The main cause of bone spurs is the wear-and-tear damage associated with osteoarthritis. It can result from any sequential and consequential changes in bone formation, which can be due to degeneration and mechanical instability.
It can also be caused by inflammatory conditions like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, also known as DISH.
In addition, being overweight, applying continuous pressure and excessive use of joints during exercise or while playing sports can cause this problem.
Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms and go undetected for years. When they do cause symptoms, they may include sharp pain, restricted movement along the affected area, swelling, inflammation and numbness.
Most symptoms depend on where the bone spurs are located. For instance, a bone spur on the knee may cause pain and difficulty bending your leg.
When it affects the spine, it can cause pain and loss of motion. When it pinches the nerves or the spinal cord, it may also cause weakness or numbness in the arms or legs. A heel spur can even lead to calluses and corns on the foot due to pressure.
As bone spurs can become very painful, it is important to deal with them promptly. You can treat the condition naturally with simple lifestyle changes and easy home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for bone spurs.
1. Cold Compress
Regular use of a cold compress will help reduce symptoms like pain, swelling and inflammation due to a bone spur. It will also help relax the muscles in the affected area.
- Put a few ice cubes in a thin towel and tie it securely.
- Apply the ice pack over the affected area and press gently.
- Do this for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy as needed.
Note: Do not apply ice directly on the skin as it may cause frostbite.
Ginger is another excellent home remedy for bone spurs. Being a natural anti-inflammatory, it can help reduce pain, swelling as well as inflammation. Moreover, it helps improve blood circulation.
- Drink ginger tea up to 3 times a day. To make the tea, boil 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced ginger in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink it.
- Also, massage the affected area with ginger oil a few times daily.
- Alternatively, you can take a dose of two 500-milligram ginger tablets, 3 times a day, for extended relief and treatment. Consult your doctor first.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also a good home remedy for bone spurs. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce pain and inflammation. It also helps rebalance the pH levels and prevent bone spurs.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 1 glass of water. Drink it twice a day for best results.
- You can also put a paper towel soaked in apple cider vinegar over the affected area. Leave it on for a few hours. Do this a couple of times daily.
Follow these remedies until the pain and inflammation are gone.
Turmeric is also beneficial for alleviating symptoms associated with bone spurs. Curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of milk and heat it over low flame. Drink this twice a day for quick recovery.
- Alternatively, you can take a turmeric supplement of 400 to 600 mg, 3 times a day, but only after consulting your doctor.
Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Soak a clean cloth in warm flaxseed oil, then tie it on the affected area. Put a heating pad over the cloth to keep the area warm. Use this treatment once daily.
- Another option is to tie 1 cup of flaxseeds securely in a piece of cloth. Warm it in the microwave for a few seconds. Place it over the affected area and apply pressure for a few minutes. Repeat as needed. You can reuse the same flaxseed hot pack a few times.
- Also, include flaxseeds in your diet on a regular basis.
Chamomile can help bring great relief from the discomforts associated with bone spurs. It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried or fresh chamomile flowers to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then allow it to cool. Use this water to wash the affected area.
- You can also drink 2 to 3 cups of chamomile tea daily. To make this herbal tea, steep 2 teaspoons of chamomile in a cup of water for 5 minutes and then strain it. You can also add a little honey to sweeten it.
7. Epsom Salt
If the pain and inflammation become severe, you can try an Epsom salt bath. The magnesium sulfate crystals will help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt in a bathtub of warm water.
- Soak in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a week.
Note: This remedy is not recommended for those who have kidney problems or diabetes.
Another useful treatment for bone spurs, especially in the heel, is borax. It has the important minerals necessary for bone health and can reduce the intensity of pain and inflammation.
- Add ½ teaspoon of borax to 4 cups of cold, chlorinated water.
- Stir well, until the borax dissolves thoroughly.
- Soak your feet in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Do this daily before bedtime for a couple of weeks.
9. Mild Exercises
Simple and mild exercises done on a regular basis will help reduce the symptoms of bone spurs and improve mobility.
- Do simple stretching exercises for 30 minutes, 5 times a week, especially in the morning.
- Try some low-impact maintenance exercises that strengthen the core and stretch the muscles of the legs and arms. Do these exercises 5 times a week.
- Walking on a soft surface with cushioned, supportive shoes for 30 minutes daily is also beneficial.
- Go swimming or bicycling occasionally to stay fit.
To learn more about different types of exercises that are best for your condition, consult your doctor.
10. Dietary Changes
When treating bone spurs, keep a close eye on your diet. Eat more healthy foods, especially those containing omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium and vitamins D, E and K.
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E help reduce inflammation caused by bone spurs. Vitamin D and K help keep your bones strong and prevent abnormal bone and cartilage mineralization. Magnesium and calcium help relieve pain from bone spurs.
Note: If taking any nutritional supplements, always consult your doctor first.
- Use warm olive or coconut oil to massage the affected area in a circular motion for 10 minutes twice daily. You can also consider deep tissue massage done by a therapist to help dissolve calcification.
- Lose extra weight to reduce pressure on the affected region, especially the feet.
- For treating heel spurs, take a relaxing foot bath by alternating cold and hot water for a few minutes.
- Before beginning any physical activity, always do some simple warm-up exercises to decrease discomfort afterward.
- Keep your feet slightly elevated to prevent swelling and inflammation due to heel spurs.
- Use well-fitted heel pad shoe inserts to prevent more damage to your feet. Always wear well-fitting shoes and proper shoes for each activity.
- Avoid foods with hydrogenated fats, soft drinks, junk foods and processed foods as they upset the body’s mineral balance.
- Use an over-the-counter cream or lotion that contains capsaicin to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Reduce stress as it contributes to more pain in the affected areas.
- Yoga and meditation are also helpful in reducing pain and inflammation caused by bone spurs.
- Acupuncture can also relieve the pain.
- If bone spurs cause extreme pain, rest and avoid any sort of physical activity as it may increase the inflammation as well as pain.
- Maintain a good posture to prevent and offer relief from bone spurs.