It depends. Spurs usually don’t return after removal as part of a joint replacement or fusion but may recur after isolated excision/removal depending on aging, injury, and or continued overuse or traction.

Bone spurs are abnormal bony growths or projections (osteophytes) that develop around the edges of bone or joints due to localized inflammation. Some conditions associated with bone spurs are arthritis (most commonly hips, knees, hands, feet, shoulder and spine) tendonitis (achilles tendonitis–pump bump–due to friction as a result of tight shoes), plantar fasciitis/heel spur due to enthesophytes from fascia/ tendon traction, spinal stenosis (bone spurs occur with spinal disc and ligament degeneration), benign bony tumor (osteochondroma exostosis), and injury or developmental causes (such as bunions, toe exostosis, repetitive shoulder friction between rotator cuff tendons and bone or hip impingement). Most asymptomatic bone spurs do not require removal.

Many symptomatic bones spurs improve with nonsurgical care. Typically, arthritic bone spurs that have been removed as part of an arthroplasty (joint replacement) will not recur because the joint has been removed and replaced with metal and plastic parts. However, bone spurs that have been removed with arthroscopic or open surgeries may reoccur if the conditions that contributed to there development continue to exist- aging, trauma, traction, and overuse.

For more information about bone spurs, visit www.OrthoInfo.org.

23 comments

  1. Rhonda Edwards

    I had a torn tendon and a torn rotators cuff and 2cm of a bone spur surgery done in 2013 I was wondering if it is possible that my bone spur could have returned I am experiencing the same symptoms and same pain as I was in when I first found that I had to have the surgery I know I should be consulting the surgeon that did the surgery but I was just wondering if it is possible for it to come back in 2 years and tear my tendon again? The pain and limited movement has been going on for over 2 weeks now

    • Ed

      Hello, I had a bone spur removed from the top of my left foot about seven years ago. It came back in the exact same place. Is this common after having it surgically removed?

  2. Wayne A. Johnson,M.D.

    Rhonda,

    Thank-you for you great question. It is my opinion that a bone spur that has been removed with surgery and a rotator cuff tear that has been repaired may reoccur in 2-3 years or later if the conditions that contributed to the development of your shoulder problem continue to exist- aging, trauma, traction, and overuse. I recommend that you see your Orthopaedic surgeon for a clinical examination of your painful and stiff shoulder. He or she will probably recommend a X-ray of your shoulder to evaluate your shoulder for evidence of another bone spur, arthritis, or loose bodies. Your Orthopaedic Surgeon may also consider a MRI to look for a retear of your rotator cuff, adhesive capsulitis (scar tissue) or osteoarthritis(degenerative joint disease) which may be causing your shoulder rotator cuff symptoms or shoulder stiffness. I hope that I have answered your questions. For more information, please visit orthoinfo.org, click on the shoulder icon to review more educational information on shoulder rotator cuff tears and impingement syndrome under the disease icon.

  3. Aaron

    Rhonda,
    I am having the exact same problems as you, same surgery and same amount of time and I had x-rays done yesterday which showed new spurs and a degenerative shoulder joint. I can’t sleep at night the pain is so bad. Going to see an ortho doc next to try and figure out whats next.

  4. Farheen

    Hello,

    My name is Farheen and I got my third surgery yesterday for a bone spur. This would be my second on the right shoulder. I don’t know why I keep developing bone spurs. First surgery was in October of 2012 (right) , second was in January of 2015 and third was yesterday, June 6th 2016.

    • Char Hilbert

      Check out prolotherapy. I had a spur in my neck treated with prolo over 8 years ago and no more pRoblems since. I was told joint instability unstable ligaments was the cause for spurs.

  5. Suzanne Albright

    I had a bone spur removed from my foot in 2010 and it returned about three years later. After the surgery the surgeon said casually, “By the way, it will return.” I didn’t ask how soon but found out soon enough all right. It hurts like hell and now I probably can’t have surgery again due to compromised breathing.

  6. Luke Yancey

    My dad had a surgery on his ankle a few years ago, and I am trying to understand why he got it. From what I remember, he said that part of his ankle bone had broken off when he sprained it and began growing by itself. I know that you said that a bone spur is an abnormal growth of bone due to inflammation like arthritis or stress, but would you consider what happened to my dad to be the same thing?

  7. Ed

    I had a large bone spur removed from my upper left foot. Two years later, it came back in the same place, but worse. Is this possible?

  8. Joan Minervini

    My podiatrist told me my heel spurs would return if removed surgically. He strapped my arch tightly to relieve my pain until the casting mold was made for a properly fit orthotic insert that I wear as an insole in my SAS Free Style walking shoes and this eventually improved and relieved the pain. I don’t notice plantar fascitis unless I go for awhile in sandals in the summer without the orthotic. VIONIC flip flops and sandals make their shoes with an arch built in, so now I can wear them through the summer without injuring my plantar fascial ligament. Rolling your feet over a tennis ball keeps the tendon stretched out so it will not tighten up again. He explained to me that the reason the hooked spur develops is every time you step on your foot, the tight tendon tears away from the insertion site on the heel and bleeds a tiny bit. As this continues over and over, the blood calcifies into a boney spur, hence its pointed shape, large at the base and sharp at the tip. Hope this helps.

  9. Carolann

    I have arthritis and bone spurs in my shoulders. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to have the spurs removed but now after reading everyone’s comments I think not. Ugg constant pain is awful.

  10. Linda Urban

    Thank you all for your comments. Husband has problem both with shoulder & foot. This is all new to us.

  11. Julie

    Had mine removed in 2012 left shoulder and he said they scraped arthritis and bursitis from that joint most painful surgery I’ve ever had and I’ve had plenty including two c sections one at 40 lol walk on the park compared to bone surgeries. Thinking I have them again pain is so bad nothing’s touching it Prednisone is usually a godsend but they ain’t working so guess it’s time. Question I keep getting cortisone shots instead of having X-rays and seeing if I do because I don’t want to go through that again good I heard those can really screw you up after getting them so long anyone know if that’s true?

  12. Deb

    I had the tendon cut in my right foot, and a bone spur removed in my right heel also on March 3, 2017. Felt like I was walking on thumbtacks all the time. Pain was unbearable. So now, the pain is back, I do my foot stretches, apply ice to the bottom of my foot. After reading these comments, and what the Dr. says about them re-occurring, is insane..Over use…duh, how is 1 person to get around without walking or just to stand on both feet. It interferes with working, walking, everything. Sometimes it feels like I’m getting jolts of electricity in my heel. Tired of spending money on footwear that doesn’t help either. Any suggestions, would be greatly appreciated.

    • Julie

      Deb I feel the same way, I had a bone spur & my Achilles’ tendon reattached last June, I haven’t had a pain free day yet. I have read bone spurs can grow back, not very likely but it can happen, most likely that’s my case! I’ve done everything I can, I can’t stay off it like he says, I have kids, but this feeling I am having is definitely not a “healing process” feeling, I know there something wrong and it’s just frustrating. That constant throbbing and sharp pains is ridiculous. I’ve been dealing with pain in my feet for two years, and I’m ready to be pain-free. And I too gave spent hundreds of dollars on shoes!! I hope you feel better and if there’s anything that helps you please let me know

  13. Donna McMichael

    I had back surgery on august 30th 2017 to remove a bone spur on my spine T7-8. today is October 3rd 2017 went to er cause was having very sharp pains on left side of incision. they did a CT scan and it shows that another bone spur has popped up in the same place. I know it wasn’t cause the Dr didn’t get it all the first time cause i had ct scan done beginning of September due to pain on left side and was told i had pneumonia. this pain is different. so what are the chances of bones spurs coming back in a little over a month?

  14. Carol M.

    I had anterior cervical fusion 5/6, 6/7 on Aug. 24, 2017 on Aug 26th went back in to fuse T-1 also, it wasn’t holding. 16 years ago I had 6/7 fused and 2 of the 4 screws broke. This was the reason I was back in surgery, I had a bone spur on the plate of my first fusion, everything was removed. I had a cat scan done 10 weeks and 5 days after my Aug, surgeries which showed a bone spur pushing on the bottom of my new plate, pushing out the screw. I was not sure how fast a bone spur can grow and if it will continue to grow ? I have been in a very confining neck brace for 3 months and do not want to have to go back into surgery and have to go through all of this again !?? I am very frustrated at this time. After reading the comments above, is it telling me bone spurs CAN grow back that fast !!

  15. sam houston

    I have been battling a bone spur on the side of my right ankle that may be caused from no arch. My gave me a boot for a few weeks and it felt better so he gave me a cortizon shot and it didnt work at all.I was back in the boot and we did a month of physical therapy and was feeling great until today all hell broke loose again and i am more pain now than when i first started going to have this looked at.Any ideas ?

  16. cindy kelly

    i have a heel bone spur. i use to get them often in my younger days. this one came on i think because of falling with my dog and my husband trying to help. i went to the doc. she gave me a shot it’s was gone for about 4 weeks came back this morning. can i have another shot now? my first spur was 40 years ago. went away and never had another one. until now

  17. Yvette Papps

    March 2017 I had an op on my ankle for haglunds deformity, I torn the tendon at the base of my heel and it never mended itself and got worse and more and more painful. After surgery I had the usual things plaster, ortho boot and Physio. Went to my consultant yesterday for another check up and he is stumped as the calcification is back, worse than the first time and has attached it self to the tendon. He said I am the first patient he has had where this has grown back and is referring me to a different guy for a second opinion. He said I need a tendon transfer but before he goes ahead I’m to be seen my another. What will happen if I have that op and it grows back again?

  18. Cheryl Baker

    I had a nickel size bone spur removed from my right heel in November of 2017.. I have struggled with the healing process and thought i was not following the recoup process acurately because I still had swelling and sharp pain. I went back last week, and not only did the spur already grow back, there were two all together! I am so upset! I can’t take anti inflammatories forever, and I am anxious to heal and be mobile like I was before all of this!! Help??
    What options do I have, and is this normal!??

  19. Bri

    What is the difference in a fusion and an ankle replacement ?!? Can a fusion soon be fixed into a replacement once they have gotten ankle replacements advanced in time ?!? Or is a fusion a last choice scared cause just don’t want to be immobile and scared cause tired of being in so much pain when I step out of bed it brings me to my knees and if I am too active feels like sharp pins and like snapping since it’s bone on bone just need a little insight please?!??!!!

  20. Dr Wayne Johnson

    Bri,

    Thank you for your question. I hope that this educational information answers your questions.

    1. Arthrodesis (fusion). Arthrodesis fuses the bones of the joint completely, making one continuous bone out of two or more bones. The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain by eliminating motion in the arthritic joint.

    During arthrodesis, the doctor removes the damaged cartilage and then uses pins, plates and screws, or rods to fix the joint in a permanent position. Over time, the bones fuse or grow together, just like two ends of a broken bone grow together as it heals. By removing the joint, the pain disappears.

    2. In total ankle replacement, your doctor removes the damaged cartilage and bone, and then positions new metal or plastic joint surfaces to restore the function of the joint.
    Ankle replacement relieves the pain of arthritis and offers patients more mobility and movement than fusion. In addition, being able to move the formerly arthritic joint means that less stress is transferred to the adjacent joints. This lessens the chance of developing adjacent joint arthritis.

    3. As in any type of joint replacement, an ankle implant may loosen or fail over the years. If the implant failure is severe, the replaced joint can be exchanged for a new implant — this procedure is called a revision surgery.

    Another option is to remove the implant and fuse the joint. This type of fusion is more difficult than when fusion is done as the initial procedure. When the implant is removed, there is space in the bone that must be filled with bone graft to maintain the length of the leg. Because the new bone may not be as strong, the risk of nonunion is greater.

    The source of this educational information about ankle fusion and ankle replacement is orthoinfo.org.

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