Bone Spurs of the Elbow

Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are bony projections that form along joint margins. They often occur in joints where bones meet each other. In the elbow, bone spurs are typically caused by joint damage associated with osteoarthritis.

What is Bone Spurs of the Elbow?

Bone spurs in the elbow are extra bone growths that can develop due to continuous pressure, rubbing, or stress on the elbow joint over a prolonged period. They can interfere with the normal functioning of the elbow, leading to pain and restricting movement.


The symptoms of bone spurs in the elbow may include:

  • Pain in the elbow, especially when straightening or fully bending the arm
  • Stiffness in the elbow
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Sensation of a hard lump in the elbow
  • Swelling around the elbow


The diagnosis of bone spurs in the elbow usually involves:

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will examine your elbow for any abnormalities, such as swelling or tenderness. You may be asked to move your elbow in different directions to assess your range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are typically used to confirm the diagnosis as they can clearly show bone spurs. Other imaging tests, like a CT scan or MRI, may also be needed to get a detailed view of the elbow joint.


To prevent bone spurs in the elbow, you can:

  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on your elbow joint
  • Avoid repetitive elbow movements or activities that put excessive stress on the elbow
  • Regularly exercise to keep your joints flexible
  • Use corrective equipment or protective gear when doing physical activities

Treatment Options

Treatment for bone spurs in the elbow depends on the severity of the symptoms:

  • Rest and Physiotherapy: Resting the affected elbow and engaging in physiotherapy exercises can help to relieve pain and improve joint mobility.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Cortisone Injections: If symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Surgery: In cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be necessary. The surgical procedure typically involves removing the bone spur and any damaged tissue. Your surgeon may also repair any structures in your elbow that have been affected by the bone spur.