What are the Most Common Symptoms of a Bone Spur in the Wrist?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are outgrowths of bone that may grow along the spine or at the wrist, shoulder, knee, foot, or neck. A person with a bone spur may be asymptomatic until the protrusion irritates surrounding tissues. The most common symptoms of a bone spur in the wrist include pain, stiffness, inflammation, numbness or tingling. An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be done to confirm the spur. If it is symptomatic, a healthcare professional will attempt to decrease the swelling and inflammation, but sometimes surgery is necessary if the spur is pressing on a nerve.

Although bone spurs in general may result from injury, aging, tendinitis, spinal stenosis, or other diseases, those in the wrist are usually caused by osteoarthritis. Arthritis wears away the cartilage that pads the end of each bone at the joint. When the cartilage is worn down, the bones begin to scrape against one another and cause pain, and the surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The body attempts to compensate for the condition by growing new bone along the edges where the cartilage once was; this new bone is the bone spur.


Pain, inflammation, and stiffness are the three main symptoms caused by a bone spur in the wrist. Numbness and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome may occur if the spur is pressing or rubbing against the medial nerve in the arm. To confirm the problem, a medical professional may take an X-ray or other scan of the wrist. If the imaging study confirms the osteophyte, treatment may begin.

The initial goal when treating a bone spur is to reduce the patient's pain as well as to decrease the swelling of the tissues surrounding the spur. The healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, or prescribe pain medication. Home care, such as applying cold packs or hot packs to the area, may help reduce painful symptoms. The wrist may also need to be slightly immobilized or rested; wrist exercises or physical therapy may also be suggested to improve or maintain flexibility. If the symptoms do not subside with these treatments, the medical professional may recommend a cortisone injection, which can potentially alleviate pain for several weeks.

When conservative treatments are ineffective or the symptoms are significantly affecting the patient's life, he or she may need carpal tunnel surgery. During this surgical procedure, the pressure that the bone spur is putting on the nerve will be removed. Once the pressure is off, numbness, tingling, and/or nerve pain is often eliminated.


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Post 6

I had several bone spurs on my wrist. I am five weeks post wrist surgery. These bone spurs can sever the tendons in your fingers. I know because it happened to me. Have it taken care of ASAP. I had an X-ray to determine I had bone spurs and in a week it severed a single tendon in my pinky, according to the MRI I had a week later. Luckily you have two tendons in that finger. Otherwise recovery time could be intense.

Post 5

I have a bone spur on the wrist of my right hand. It was caused by injury of overuse from playing the piano. Has anyone else had this and what did you do for it? Is there a cure? I love playing the piano, so this is very disturbing.

Post 4

I have a bone spur on my wrist. I don't know what to do. Someone please help.

Post 3

@SarahGen-- I'm guessing that this changes from person to person, but for me it was a matter of months.

The very first symptom I got was a feeling that something was pulling on my fingers. But it was very mild and it didn't last long. The major symptoms the article mentioned didn't show up until about five or six months later.

Post 2

How long does it take for a bone spur to happen?

I mean, how long does it take between damage to the cartilage causing the bone spur in hand to grow enough to press on the nerves and cause symptoms?

Are we talking a matter of weeks or months, or years?

Are there any symptoms that will help us know what's going on before the bone spur reaches this point?

Post 1

I had a bone spur on my wrist treated a couple of years ago. It was quite a shock because I don't have arthritis. It turned out that the bone spur was due to an old injury.

The doctor said that I injured my wrist at some point and it never completely healed. Because of that, the bone started to grow and eventually started causing swelling and pain for me which is when I went to see the doctor.

Come to think of it, I did have some pain for several weeks about a year before that. I had hurt my wrist while playing baseball. If I had gone to the doctor and had been treated then, I might have been able to avoid the bone spur later.

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