Osteophyte - Definition

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An osteophyte is an abnormal bone growth that can be found in proximity to a damaged bone or any diseased joint. Osteophytes are common in osteoarthritis progression, a disease characterized by degenerating joint cartilage. Osteophytes are only rarely the cause of symptoms, yet can induce slight joint deformities, sometimes pain, and in rare cases, difficulties in performing certain movements. These growths are visible on x-ray in the form of bony protrusions, and usually do not require treatment.