Bone Spurs and Social Security Disability

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a small growth that forms on top of normal bone. These extra growths can go undetected for long periods of time until they press against other bones, ligaments, nerves, or soft tissue. Bone spurs most commonly on the spine, hands, hips, shoulders, knees and feet.

Bone spurs that form near major joints can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty moving joints
  • Weakness and numbness
  • Swelling

Applying for Social Security Disability with Bone Spurs

Depending on where bone spurs are located, they can go unnoticed by some, or cause serious pain and damage in others. Bone spurs can tear at joints and ligaments, making it painful to walk and move. In severe cases, bone spurs can make it impossible to maintain gainful employment.

Bone spurs are not directly listed in the SSA blue book. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, applicants will need to provide medical evidence that bone spurs have led to symptoms that keep them from working.


Because bone spurs can form in many areas of the body, applicants with bone spurs may qualify for disability benefits under several different listings. These include:

Disorders of the Spine – Bone spurs have developed on the applicant’s spine and have:

  • Compressed a nerve root in his or her spine, limiting movement, causing weakness, loss of reflexes, or numbness
  • Narrowed the applicant’s spinal canal, resulting in weakness, pain, and difficulty walking

Dysfunction of a major joint – The applicant must provide medical evidence that a bone spur has caused:

  • Joint instability, chronic pain, and stiffness


  • Complete inability to use the affected joint.

Inflammatory Arthritis – The underlying cause of a bone spur may be inflammatory arthritis. Applicants may qualify under this listing if the condition is severe enough to limit arm and leg movement.

Medical Evidence Necessary to Apply for SSD with Bone Spurs

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with bone spurs, applicants will need to provide adequate medical evidence proving that bone spurs make you unable work.

The medical evidence may include:

  • Medical imaging including MRIs, CT scans, or x-rays of the affected joint
  • History of treatments and medications
  • Results of physical examinations
  • Relevant lab work
  • Doctors’ notes describing symptoms and limitations

Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney for Your Bone Spur Claim

Because an experienced Social Security Disability attorney is familiar with the application process, they will help you present a strong case. If you wish to simplify the process, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance.

Additional Resources