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What are Osteophytes?

What are Osteophytes

Osteophytes are protrusions that occur at the connecting point between bones and are caused by a gradual erosion of the joint. This damage is caused by the surface of the joint wearing away over time, leaving irregularities in their shape, causing pain, limited mobility, and an increase in the likelihood of developing arthritis.

Where are they Found

Osteophytes are often found in the spines of older patients, which can cause several complications due to the high amount of nerve connections. Some areas of skin in the limbs are connected to the brain entirely via a single nerve in the spine. If such a vital nerve is affected by osteophytes, then the body has no way of circumventing the damaged pathway by alternate routes. Furthermore, if these nerves are compressed or damaged by osteophytes, then several other conditions can arise, such as decreased sensation in the extremities, or pain in the limbs.

Osteophytes are also found in the fingers and toes of certain patients, in which case they are known as Heberden’s nodes. This is often seen in the elderly in the form of swollen knuckles and irregularly shaped fingers. This in turn causes a marked decrease in agility and sensation.

What are the Symptoms of Osteophytes

They may occur as a symptom of a related bone disease, such as osteomyelitis – an infection caused by mycobacteria. Diabetics are also at risk of developing osteophytes, due to the increased risk of developing neuropathic osteoarthropathy, which renders the formation of irregularities in the surface of joints in the feet far more likely.

In some rare cases, osteophytes may occur throughout the entire body, which often results in the formation of extra layers of bone (exotosis) on top of existing bone structures. Depending on the location of this new bone, the patient of a bone diseases may experience a broad range of pain, from manageable to incapacitating.

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LearnBones.com provides a resource on both the bones of the human skeleton and the Muscular System. Learn about the bones, memorize their names, and see their positions in the human body. To get started, click on one of categories above. If you want more information about this site, check out the About or Contact Us pages.

Test Your Knowledge

How Many Bones in the Human Body?

An adult has a total of 206 bones in their skeleton

How many Bones in a Child's Body?

A newborn baby has 270 bones in the skeletal system. Most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage which forms bone as it hardens over time. The bones in a child's skeleton fuse together as they grow, reducing the number, up until about 25 years old.

What is The Strongest Bone in the Human Body?

The femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone in the body. It is situated between the pelvis and the knee. It is also the longest bone in the body and is fully one quarter of your bodies' height.

What is the Weakest Bone in The Body?

The weakest bones in your body are the tiny bones inside your ear that enable you to hear. On the other hand; the most commonly fractured bone is the clavicle.

What is the Hardest Bone in the Body?

The hardest bone in the body is the petrous portion of the temporal bone. The temporal bones are found at the sides and base of the skull and the petrous portion is specifically the part at the base of the skull that contains the organs for hearing.

Where are the Smallest bones in Your Body Located?

The smallest bone in the body is called the stapes. It is a stirrup shaped bone found inside the ear drum that transmits vibrations enabling us to hear.

How many Bones are in the Leg?

A human leg contains 30 bones. There are 26 bones that make up the foot, and the four major bones of the leg, which are the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), the calf bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella)