A bone spur is a bony growth that forms on top of normal bone in response to chronic stress, pressure or some other irritant. Bone spurs can be painful when they rub against other bones or soft tissue, necessitating their removal.
Types of Surgery
Bone spur removal may be open, meaning the surgeon cuts through the skin to access the spur, or arthroscopic, where the surgeon makes small incisions to insert surgical tools and a tiny camera to perform the removal. Arthroscopic surgery is less invasive and usually an outpatient procedure.
The most common complications for arthroscopic removal of bone spurs are infection, phlebitis, swelling or bleeding, and damage to blood vessels or nerves. These are very rare occurrences. Other risks include formation of scar tissue and, depending on the location of the bone spur, toenail damage or loss. Removal of a bone spur also can weaken the bone, increasing the chance of a fracture in the future.
Anesthesia may be regional or general. If regional anesthesia is used, a sedative often is administered to relax the patient.
Removal of bone spurs usually is an outpatient procedure, and typically requires the patient to rest and keep the affected foot elevated after surgery for 3 to 7 days. The patient may need to refrain from prolonged standing or walking as long as pain persists. A cane or special footwear may be required temporarily.
Grace Grimm has been a professional writer since 2008. Her work on birding and the environment has appeared in "The Jack Pine Warbler: The Magazine of Michigan Audubon," "The Pine Press" and on numerous websites. She is an ecologist with a bachelor's degree in zoology and a master's degree in conservation biology.