Bone marrow edema refers to an incompletely understood condition with characteristic changes on MRI.

Criteria for diagnosis: ill-defined bone marrow hyperintensities on T2-weighted MRI (normal marrow shows high T1-weighted and low/moderate T2-weighted intensities reflecting adipose tissue)


Conditions associated with bone marrow edema:

(1) trauma including surgery and intense exercise

(2) degenerative joint disease

(3) inflammation

(4) ischemia (vascular, sickle cell disease, polycythemia, etc)

(5) infection

(6) benign and malignant neoplasms

(7) radiotherapy

(8) drugs (corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors)

(9) chronic renal disease

(10) Charcot's joints

(11) idiopathic


Common locations:

(1) hip

(2) knee

(3) ankle

(4) foot


Many patients present with bone pain but this may represent selection bias.

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