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Noticing a lot of bone spurs on my body lately...

Hello all, don;t know is this is anything significant, ridiculous or just a result of the aging process. I am a 27 yo male former college level athlete who is starting to notice bone growths, or even spurs, where previously there had not been any before. The first time I kind of took notice of it was in the interphlangeal joints of my fingers, where I could tell they were accumulating calcium deposits, enough to be noticed. But since I played football in college and had previously broken or dislocated a couple of fingers, coupled with my voluntary significant weight loss after finishing playing, I thought that was normal. Then I felt a bit of a hard growth on what feels like my right schaphoid wrist bone (knew it was this and not the adjoining radius because it would flex a bit along with my wrist whenever I moved it). It never really hurt per say, but it was there, and it was hard, kind of like a swelling or bad contusion would be, only smaller and felt like it was attached to the bone. Was worried there for a few weeks, then all of a sudden it deflated a bit, and shrinks to smaller than visible unless you palpate for it, then it is still there on the surface of the bone, but much smaller . Now I have another one on my left inner ankle, making almost another knot similar to the medial malleous, only more distal and back towards my heel. When it showed about a month ago, I was feeling a clicking from my ankle whenever I walked on it, making me think that it was a bone spur and was starting to get into the normal action of my joint by its proximity. Now that I have gone back to running regularly, and am doing a more regular exercise routine, I do not notice the ankle clicking as much and the mass is starting to feel less prominent, like it is going away like the wrist one. I was wondering if this all sounds benign, or if there is any particular condition this sounds like, as up till now all these growths have been little more than annoying more than anything, or if i should be worried about it being a sign of something more serious....
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replied January 24th, 2012
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mynameismud,

Usually osteophytes (bone spurs), which can form in many places in the body, usually do not decrease in size.

The mass in your wrist actually sounds like a ganglion cyst. These cysts can range in feeling from soft and jelly like to extremely firm, almost bone like. The most common location for ganglions in the wrist to arise from, is the scapholunate joint. But, they can come off any joint or tendon in the body. Ganglions tend to enlarge with activity, and decrease in size with rest.


Osteophytes tend to form in areas where there is tension or where there is degeneration of a joint. So, areas of tension would be at the attachment of the patellar tendon, the plantar fascia in the foot, the triceps tendon at the elbow, etc, and these are called enthesopathies.

Around joints, osteophytes form to help stabilize the joint. When there is degeneration in a joint, the joint usually becomes somewhat unstable, the surrounding ligaments become lax, so the body throws down some bone to help stabilize the joint. So, you see osteophytes forming around the vertebra in the spine, the joints in the fingers, the anterior lip of the ankle, around the sides of the patella or condyles in the knee, etc.


If the lumps and bumps are bothering you significantly, see an orthopedic surgeon who can examine the various joints. Some screening x-rays may be needed. Good luck.
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