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Health Tip

Home :: Arm Exostosis

Arm Exostosis

An overgrowth of bone in the upper arm. An exostosis occurs at the site of repeated injury, usually from direct blows. This benign overgrowth of bone can be mistaken for a bone tumor.


  • Middle third (usually) of the humerus, the upper arm bone.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the exostosis, including muscles, nerves, lymph vessels, blood vessels and periosteum (covering to bone).


  • Repeated Injury (contusions, sprains or strains) that Involve the upper arm bone.
  • Chronic irritation to an already damaged bone area.

Signs & Symptoms

  • No symptoms for mild cases.
  • Pain and tenderness in the upper arm at the site of the exostosis.
  • Extreme sensitivity in the upper arm to pressure or minor injury.
  • Change in the contour of the bone, ranging from a slight lump to a large calcified spur (1cm or more in length) on the humerus. In the worst cases, the exostosis may break away and feel like a distinct foreign body in the arm. An X-ray will show it to be loose in the tissues of the upper arm.


Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Rest the injured arm. Use a sling if needed to prevent weight-bearing. Don't subject yourself to reinjury until completely healed.
  • Apply heat frequently. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Follow instructions under How to Prevent to avoid a recurrence of the injury. Use proper protection during competition and workouts.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity. Your doctor may suggest vitamin and mineral supplements to promote healing.

  • Allow adequate time for recovery from any arm injury.
  • During participation in contact sports, wear a fiberboard pad over the upper arms and shoulder pads to prevent injuries.
  • Learn proper moves and techniques for the sports activities you pursue to decrease the risk of injury.

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