Usually, osteophytes develop in joints that are experiencing damage or degradation. Osteoarthritis is the primary cause of this degeneration, followed closely by aging in general. Other causes include disease and mechanical damage to the joint. Osteophytes usually develop from the periosteum. This is the tissue that lines bones and helps new bones grow. In some cases, the growths can also develop from the articular cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of bones and makes it easier for the joints to move.
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