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Knee bone edema: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Knee bone edema is widespread in people who do sports such as jogging. The bone has two parts: more complex and more compact, called cortical, and less dense and more spongy, which resembles a mesh inside the bone, the trabecular bone. When there is too much stress or pressure on the bone, or you have been hit, the body secretes fluid to protect the area, but if this inflammatory fluid enters the trabecular room, the bone swells, causing bone edema. It is usually caused by an injury to the knee area, although other causes are. A knee bone edema will need treatment to be reabsorbed, but it can be cured. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will see what you should know about knee bone edema: symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Knee bone edema: symptoms

Knee bone edema is inflammation of the trabecular bone in the knee area. When there is an injury or an overload of exercise, the body secretes fluid to repair the damage or to cope with this overload. The accumulation of this fluid causes the blood vessels in the trabecular area of ​​the bone to break, and the blood comes out, creating swelling. This is a reaction of the body, and it is the way it has to avoid injuries. Therefore bone edema and inflammation are natural responses to bone damage.

When all the inflammatory fluid is not reabsorbed, it can lead to pathological bone edema; that is, the body can no longer repair itself, and the tissue degenerates, causing osteonecrosis. Osteonecrosis is the lack of blood flow in the bone that causes the death of tissues. So that this does not occur, the knee bone edema must be treated.

The person who suffers from it may have the following symptoms:

  • Pain: the pain will increase as the process progresses. At first, it may be a slight discomfort that exercise will increase, and at rest, it will subside or be milder. Over time the pain can also appear at rest or even while sleeping.
  • Burning: a burning sensation may also appear in the knee.
  • Swelling: The accumulation of fluid and blood in the bone will cause inflammation in the bone that can physically be seen as a swelling in the knee.
  • Immobility – The knee will hurt to move or will not move properly.

If it becomes pathological, the pain will increase and become chronic with each activity you do.

Knee bone edema: causes

Knee bone edema is most often caused by trauma to the area. Many runners suffer from it since their effort is constant and sometimes excessive. They usually appear when the person has made overexertion or a load greater than he can bear.

A knee bone edema can be caused by:

  • Trauma to the area or damage
  • Overload from excessive exercise
  • Acute bone contusion
  • Cartilage injury
  • Stress rupture

Knee bone edema: recovery

To diagnose bone edema, something more than an X-ray is needed since it is not possible to detect it with this. Thus, an MRI will be used to see it.

It is essential to go to the doctor as soon as possible since if it is bone edema, the sooner you treat it before you can resume regular activity. If the pain appears in the knee that stops during rest but returns when you continue training, it is likely a knee bone edema. Do not wait several weeks to see if the pain stops; it is best to go to the specialist as soon as possible.

The recovery of bone edema knee is long, so patient. Your rehabilitation can last up to three months or more, and you may not be able to return to the activity you used to do, such as running until you are completely healed. In order not to collapse, it is best to look for some other hobby or sport such as swimming or going for a walk, as long as the doctor recommends it, and in this way, you will not miss the activity.

Treatment of knee bone edema

The rest is the leading solution for a bone edema knee, even if it hurts to read it. It is the basis for recovery. However, you can complement it with other systems to recover faster, but the rest will have to be done yes or yes since it is the only way for damaged tissues to regenerate.

To reduce inflammation in ​​fluid accumulation, you can also go to physiotherapy or work your muscles with strengthening exercises, but little by little.

Your doctor will likely tell you to use crutches to unload your injured knee. And above all, periodic reviews are essential to see how it is evolving and if you can start doing some activity that is not very strong. After a month, you will probably be able to do some activities such as walking or running on the treadmill lightly, but it all depends on the injury since there are times that it takes months to recover. You can also take analgesics or anti-inflammatories for pain, but only if directed by your doctor.

As we have said, to speed up the process, you can combine rest with some activity such as the following:

Rehabilitation in the water

Although it is not the same as your activity, it allows you to move. Water is perfect for this injury, and the movements being softer and less jerky will be better for your knee without overloading it.

Physiotherapy and magnetotherapy

The physical therapist will not cure bone edema since this specialist treats the muscles, but muscle treatment can help with recovery times from bone edema. Currently, magnetotherapy is also used, a machine that can help regenerate bone tissue due to the physiological changes it causes in the body.


Infiltrations can be done when the pain is unbearable, and in this way, it will be reduced. In the following FastlyHealarticle, we give you information that may be important to you about infiltrations.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Knee bone edema: symptoms, causes, and treatment, we recommend entering our Bones, Joints, and Muscles category.

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