Few days ago, when we had gone for a morning walk, my wife started complaining of pain on the top of her foot. Since the pain was not bearable we came back, and took an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. After examination, the painful lump on top of her foot was diagnosed as a bone spur by the doctor.
After returning home, I read several books and searched the net to find what a bone spur is all about. To my surprise a bone spur is nothing but an extra growth of bone.
A bone spur in medical terms is called an osteophyte. One of the most common causes for pain in the foot is due to bone spur, especially as you grow old. However, this tiny overgrowth of bone is not restricted only to the foot. It can occur anywhere in the skeletal system, especially in the small joints. A bone spur in itself may not lead to any symptoms, but when it compresses the adjacent nerves, muscles and tissues it can cause pain and swelling.
What Causes Bone Spur On Top Of Foot?
Bone spur on foot is the result of constant wear and tear, pressure and rubbing for a prolonged time. The other common site for overgrowth of bone is at the bottom or at the posterior side of the heel bone. It can result due pull and pressure of the attached tendon. A bone spur on the foot can also occur with flat foot, meaning improper alignment in the arch of the foot. A bone spur also occurs in people suffering from osteoarthritis. It is a degenerative process of the bone. In osteoarthritis the cartilage breaks up and tries to cover the loss by creating an extra growth of bone.
Repeated stress and strain to the joint of the foot with years of walking, running or activities like dancing is the reason for bone spur on the upper region of the foot. If you are overweight, or if you wear tight fitting footwear, the risk of developing bone spur is extremely high.
Symptoms Of Bone Spur On Top Of Foot
As mentioned earlier most of the time bone spur on top of the foot or for that matter anywhere in the body may be unnoticed. You may only detect it when you feel a bumpy structure on the top of the foot, or if there is pain in that region.
Bone spur can be felt as a hard lump on the top of the foot or in the finger joints because the skin on the surface is very thin. It may be difficult to feel bone spur in any other region of the body. With pain there is immobility of the foot. You may find difficulty while walking. There may be associated swelling on the top of foot. The area may turn tender and red. You may not be able to wear shoes.
Bone Spur On Top Of Foot Treatment
In most cases, the treatment for bone spur is conservative. The same is true with bone spur on the top of the foot. Pain as well as difficulty in walking prompts for early treatment of bone spur.
Since the pain is due to the inflammation of the tissues and muscle surrounding the spur, it is necessary to reduce the inflammation. Apply ice pack on the affected area at least two to three times in a day. It will reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain.
Change the shoes if they are tight fitting. You can also apply orthotic padding on the painful area to reduce the pressure when you wear shoes.
For few days do not over stress or restrict your stressful physical sports activities.
Local application of warm linseed oil is beneficial. Gently massage the oil on top of the foot. After thirty minutes, place a heating pad over the area and let it remain for half hour. Take precaution that the heating pad may not burn your skin.
You can also apply heated salt wrapped in a cloth over the area for fifteen to twenty minutes every day.
Mix half tsp of turmeric powder in one teaspoon of honey. Consume the fresh mixture daily to alleviate the symptoms of bone spur on the top of the foot. Curcumin which gives yellow color to turmeric is effective in reducing the inflammation.