Fax Us At: (508) 721-0100

Fax Us At: (508) 721-0100

Are Bone Spurs Causing Your Shoulder Pain?

Bone spurs are small deposits of calcium.  If these bony projections become large enough, they can become painful and result in inflammation as well as cause damage the surrounding tendons and muscles.

The medical term for bone spurs is “osteophytes”. Osteophytes are commonly seen in the spine, the heel, and the shoulder.

In the shoulder, bones spurs can form as a result of a previous injury, arthritis, or repetitive overhead motions.  A bone spur in the shoulder can narrow the space and irritate the rotator cuff tendons, leading to pain and loss of motion and potentially cause fraying or tearing of the rotator cuff tend0ns.  This is also known as shoulder impingement.


  • The most common symptom is pain
  • Sharp shoulder pain, particularly with overhead activities
  • Pain at night that wake you from sleep
  • Pain is different for everyone. Sometimes it is felt deep within the shoulder, other times people feel pain on the outside of the shoulder, or radiating down the biceps muscle to the elbow.
  • Pain with everyday activities like combing your hair, putting on a shirt, laying down on the affected side, and carrying a moderately light objects
  • An overall sense of weakness and pain that causes you from using your shoulder


Typically, there are three ways to treat this condition:

  1. Activity modification—modifying or limiting overhead movements may help to relieve symptoms.  This relative rest will allow the tendons and ligaments of the shoulder to calm down and potentially heal the condition.
  2. Nonsurgical treatments can effectively treat patients with mild symptoms. Common approaches include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and therapeutic steroid injections.
  3. Surgical intervention be necessary when non-surgical options fail to provide symptom relief. Surgery involves the use of arthroscopic instruments to trim or remove the bone spur and open the joint space.   Physical therapy is typically prescribed post-operatively to reduce inflammation, restore range of motion, and improve biomechanics and posture.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Physical therapy can be beneficial as an option before and/or after surgical procedures.  In both cases, your physical therapist will provide treatment to decrease inflammation and restore range of motion while reducing pain.  They will work with you to restore proper biomechanics and posture to reduce stress on the joint.

If you have been diagnosed with a bone spur or have symptoms of shoulder impingement, reach out to our office for a consultation!



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