An ear bone spur is an irregular growth that might form on the bony surfaces. Generally, bone spurs are not painful but might trigger pain if they rub against the nerves and crush the neighboring tissues.
An ear bone spur is likely to form among those who are exposed to cold water and heavy winds especially in surfing, competitive swimming, skiing, sailing, fishing, kayaking or diving.
The spurs form in a slow manner and considered stable. Nevertheless, there are instances in which the growth is rapid and unpredictable. In such instances, surgery might be suggested to remove the spurs.
The usual risk factors for an ear bone spur include:
- Advanced age
- Engaging in sports or activities involving prolonged exposure to cold water and high wind speeds.
- Poor diet
- Excess body weight linked with obesity
- Degenerative joint conditions such as osteoarthritis
- Genetic predisposition
What are the indications?
Generally, an ear bone spur will not cause any discomfort or other symptoms. Nevertheless, some might arise depending on the seriousness of the condition.
The usual signs that might be present include:
- Bony mass beneath the skin close to the ear
- Significant, uncontrollable ear pain
- Obstruction of the ear canal
- Diminished or difficulty hearing
- If the adjacent nerves are crushed, the affected muscles are weakened
Management of an ear bone spur
The treatment options for an ear bone spur is based on the seriousness of the symptoms.
Some of the conservative measures for those experiencing minor to moderate pain might include:
- Adequate rest – any activity that worsens the condition must be avoided. The individual is instructed to refrain from engaging in some activities until the symptoms subside.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – these medications can help reduce the swelling and pain.
- Corticosteroid injections – these provide brief relief to the symptoms and improve the range of motion. Extended use of these injections might damage the joints in the long-run.
Surgical intervention for an ear bone spur might be suggested if the conservative measures are not effective. Removal of the bone spur is suggested which involves the removal of the irregular growth in the ear.