Bone spurs in the elbow
Bone spurs are overgrowth of bones which are seen in the joints and are present at the end bones. The bony spurs usually develop in the spinal bones and heel but sometimes they can develop in other bony joints such as the elbow and the knee.
Bone spurs in the elbow joints causes pain and limited elbow movement. The elbow joint is smaller than the knee joint and an extra growth of bone in the elbow joint causes intense discomfort. Bone spurs are painless, but can occur due to the rubbing action against the surrounding tissues, nerves and cartilage.
Bone spurs develops in adults after the age of 40 years in a gradual manner. Repeated injury, excessive straining of the elbow joint and deterioration of the bony structures of joints in the elbow can cause the development of bone spurs. To learn to recognize and manage bone and muscle conditions including bone spurs, register for first aid training today.
Causes of bone spur in the elbow
The elbow joint is comprised of three bones, two ends of forearm bones and one end of upper arm bone. The joints are made up of structures such as ligaments, cartilage and muscle tendons. The development of bone spurs in the elbow can be caused by the following:
- People playing sports such as tennis and badminton have a high risk of developing elbow spurs.
- People suffering from osteoarthritis are likely to develop bone spurs in the elbow joint. The bony end becomes weak and repeated straining and friction between two bones can increase the formation of bone spurs.
- Inflammation of the tendons or bursa in the elbow joint can cause the formation of bone spurs
Bone spurs in the elbow symptoms
- If the elbow spur is big, it adds pressure on the structures of the elbow joint such as the tendons, ligaments and cartilage. The bony growth rubs against the end of another bone or a nerve is compressed which results to pain in the elbow and difficulty when extending the forearm in performing daily activities.
- Range of motion of the elbow is limited and becomes stiff and the affected person has difficulty in extending the forearm. Sometimes, the elbow is swollen and tender due to the inflammation around the spur.
- The elbow becomes locked when the spur breaks and lodges in the elbow area. There is difficulty in extending or folding the forearm or becomes locked.
Treatment and home remedies
- Rest the elbow joint in order to minimize irritation caused by the spurs to the adjacent structures
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress on the affected area for 10 minutes in order to minimize the inflammation and irritation. The numbing effect provided by the ice reduces pain for some time.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications in order to lessen the symptoms and pain.
- Using homeopathic medicines such as arnica or rhustox to help lessen pain and swelling.
- Apply flax seed warm packs in order to relieve pain and inflammation caused by elbow spurs.
- If a spur is dislodged in the area of the joint and causes the elbow to lock, it requires immediate medical care.