Osteophytes are cartilage-capped bony proliferations (spurs) that most commonly develop at the margins of a synovial joint as a response to articular cartilage damage, as seen very commonly in degenerative joint disease. Central osteophytes can develop from cartilage lesions within a joint. They are considered a hallmark of osteoarthritis and can be confused with syndesmophytes and enthesophytes.
Small osteophytes are sometimes referred to as osteophytic lipping.
Aside from the manifestations of osteoarthritis, osteophytes can:
- fracture causing pain
- impinge neuromuscular structures
- present as Heberden nodes and Bouchard nodules in osteoarthritis of the hand
Currently, it is unknown if osteophytes are a functional adaptation to joint disease or a pathological phenomenon in their own right 1.
- 1. van der Kraan PM, van den Berg WB. Osteophytes: relevance and biology. (2007) Osteoarthritis and cartilage. 15 (3): 237-44. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2006.11.006 - Pubmed
- 2. Wolfgang Dähnert. Radiology Review Manual. (2019) ISBN: 9780781766203
- 3. Vinay Kumar, Stanley Leonard Robbins. Robbins Basic Pathology. (2019) ISBN: 9781416029731
- 4. Clyde A. Helms. Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology. (2019) ISBN: 9780721605708