Any Advice For Bone Spurs?

I am a competitive swimmer (Masters - call it a “serious hobby”) and I lift to supplement my swimming. A recent MRI has shown that I have a bone spur on my right acromion process. My orthopedist has told me that the bone spur rubs against the bursa and tendons.

I have been getting a “clicking” sound in which the shoulder shifts, especially when I raise my elbow near my neck to stretch the rear deltoid. The shoulder feels better after the “shift.”

My orthopedist said that he doesn’t want to do surgery yet, rather he suggests we wait 6-8 weeks to see if the spur heals itself. He has not forbidden me from swimming or lifting; he trusts me to avoid activities that make it worse.

All the folks here at T-Nation are very knowledgable. I would be very grateful if anyone could offer answers to a couple of questions:

  1. Do bone spurs ever heal themselves? Is there any point in waiting to have surgery?

  2. Along with rest is there anything I can do to facilitate the healing process? Is supplementation ever helpful?

Thank you in advance!

[quote]mikeh3 wrote:
I am a competitive swimmer (Masters - call it a “serious hobby”) and I lift to supplement my swimming. A recent MRI has shown that I have a bone spur on my right acromion process. My orthopedist has told me that the bone spur rubs against the bursa and tendons.

I have been getting a “clicking” sound in which the shoulder shifts, especially when I raise my elbow near my neck to stretch the rear deltoid. The shoulder feels better after the “shift.”

My orthopedist said that he doesn’t want to do surgery yet, rather he suggests we wait 6-8 weeks to see if the spur heals itself. He has not forbidden me from swimming or lifting; he trusts me to avoid activities that make it worse.

All the folks here at T-Nation are very knowledgable. I would be very grateful if anyone could offer answers to a couple of questions:

  1. Do bone spurs ever heal themselves? Is there any point in waiting to have surgery?

  2. Along with rest is there anything I can do to facilitate the healing process? Is supplementation ever helpful?

Thank you in advance!

[/quote]

I don’t know much about your specific situation, but I had surgery to remove bone spurs in my ankle two weeks ago, and am in the midst of rehab. Mine came from a break two years ago, not sports-related, drinking-related.

My understanding, and I’m the farthest thing from a doctor, is that they rarely heal over time, and surgery to saw them off is usually a good idea. However, doctors seem pretty apprehensive about doing surgery if there’s any chance they don’t need to, and it took me months of hemming and hawing to get surgery for mine.

As for supplements, glucosamine + chondroitin can help the cartilage damage that the spur often inflicts, but I doubt it does much for the bone spur itself.