Bone Spurs Caused by Diabetes


Bone spurs are projections, or growths, on the edge of bone. They are not inherently painful themselves, but can be the cause of discomfort by causing rubbing, interfering with ligaments or tendons, or placing pressure on nerves. They can also cause problems by limiting the range of motion of a limb or joint. If they are large enough or near enough to the edge of a bone, a bone spur can even be visible under the skin.


Bone spurs are usually caused by different types of arthritis, being overweight, or from having tight ligaments or stress on a certain bone in the body. All of these conditions may injure the bones. As the bone tries to heal itself, it might create new bone to fill a gap or replace lost cartilage.


Diabetes is a disorder in which the body is unable to properly metabolize sugar and remove it from the blood stream. People with diabetes do not create enough insulin in their pancreas to move glucose or sugar from the blood and into cells as energy. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is autoimmune, and involves the body's immune system attacking the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is often genetic and less related to diet.

Type 2 diabetes is the type often associated with old age and obesity. People with Type 2 diabetes are not necessarily born with it. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is capable of producing enough insulin to remove sugar from the blood, but the body is unable to carry out the process.

Bone Spurs and Diabetes

Because diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism and blood, there is no direct alley of causation between diabetes and bone spurs. However, there is evidence of a correlation in some people who have diabetes and bone spurs. Of people with Type 2 diabetes, the type that is developed over time, 80 percent are overweight. Bone spurs can also be caused from tension and pressure exerted on bones and ligaments from being overweight. It is possible, then, that overweight people with Type 2 diabetes may also have bone spurs, especially of the feet. In this case, however, the bone spurs would be caused by being overweight, not from the diabetes.


Treatment for bone spurs depends on the severity of the spur and the amount of discomfort it creates. Decreasing pressure on the bone via rest, ice or massage may help. There are also surgeries if the bone spur is a serious problem. In the case of bone spurs caused by excess weight, diet and weight loss programs might ease pressure.