Blockers Exostosis – 6 Important Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment and Care Instructions

What is Blockers Exostosis

Blockers exostosis is an extra bone growth in the arm bone (humerus).

This extra bone growth is known as exostosis

This condition commonly develops due to deposition of bone in the most common site, that is the muscle of the upper arm.

The most common site of the Blockers exostosis is usually at the site of repeated injury.

Synonyms of Blockers Exostosis

  • Arm exostosis
  • Tackler’s spur

Why the name Blockers Exostosis?

The name Blockers Exostosis came from the high incidence of the injury in American Football defensive blockers. They usually suffer blows to the arm. 

This is usually caused by injury to the upper arm.

Blocker’s exostosis is commonly seen in football players.

This disorder most commonly results from direct blows

What are the causes of Blockers Exostosis?

This condition may be caused by:

  • A severe, direct hit, usually a blow or injury to the upper arm.
  • Repeated small injuries to the same area of the upper arm over time.

A common cause of this condition is repeated impact of a football helmet against the arm of a football player.

What increases the risk?

The following factors may make you more likely to develop this condition:

  • Participating in sports or activities that involve forceful contact on your arms, such as football, rugby, or martial arts.
  • Having a bleeding disorder.
  • Having a bone disease or joint disease.
  • Having poor muscle strength or conditioning.
  • Lacking a certain vitamin or mineral (having a deficiency).
  • Being an older athlete.

What are the signs or symptoms of Blockers Exostosis ?

In some cases, there may be no symptoms of this condition. Possible symptoms include:

  1. Pain and swelling. Pain is common at the site of exostosis. This pain may get worse when pressure is applied to the area or gets aggravated if there is a minor injury.
  2. Stiffness in the shoulder or elbow.
  3. Bruising or discoloration. Skin in the affected area may turn red, purple, or yellow. This bruising may happen with repeated injuries
  4. A lump or a swelling that you can feel if you push on the affected area.
  5. Numbness, tingling, or decreased blood flow in your arm and hand. This is rare.
  6. When there is a break in this exostosis, a movable piece may be felt within the arm

How is this diagnosed?

Blockers Exostosis may be diagnosed based on:

  • Your symptoms
  • Your medical history
  • A physical exam
  • Imaging tests. It may take up to 4 weeks for the exostosis to be visible on these tests. Imaging tests may include:

How is Blockers Exostosis treated?

Treatment for this condition depends on the severity. If you have no symptoms, you may not need treatment. However, if you do have symptoms, treatment may include:

  • Resting the injured area. This may include stopping any sports and physical activity for 2–4 weeks.
  • Icing the injured area.
  • Medicines that help to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Injections of medicines that help to reduce inflammation (cortisone).
  • Surgery to remove the exostosis. This is rarely done.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • If your health care provider says that it is safe for you to participate in sports, protect your injured area with extra padding during sports activity.
  • If physical therapy was prescribed, do exercises as told by your health care provider.

Managing pain, stiffness, and swelling

  • If directed, apply ice to the injured area:
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.

General instructions

  • Take OTC and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Do not use any tobacco products, such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. Tobacco can delay bone healing. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Can this be prevented?

  • Give your body time to rest between periods of activity. Allow sufficient time for recovery from any arm injury (if any).
  • Make sure to use equipment that fits you. Highly recommended to wear proper protective equipment
  • Maintain physical fitness, including:
    • Strength.
    • Flexibility.
    • Cardiovascular fitness.
    • Endurance.
  • Learn and use correct technique in your sport to reduce your risk for injury.
  • Try to Ensure proper and correct fit for arm pads.

Seek Medical help immediately if:

  • You have symptoms that get worse or do not improve within 2–4 weeks.


Blocker’s exostosis


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