Bone Edema

Causes And Treatment For Bone Edema

Bone marrow edema syndrome, commonly referred to as bone edema is a very uncomfortable and unpreventable disorder that causes your bone marrow to swell and absorb fluid.  This puts a lot of pressure on the bone's interior and causes an extreme amount of pain.

Bone edema also reduces the ability of your marrow to produce healthy blood cells.  This is because after the fluid has been absorbed, there is no room for the cells to carry out the job that they are suppose to do.  Luckily, this is a disorder that typically fades all on its own within three weeks of when the initial onset occurred.

Broken Bones

Bone edema can often be a direct result of suffering from a broken bone.  It is also suggested that the immune system could play a triggering role since this is where the inflammatory response comes from.  Therefore, some researchers believe that the condition can be a result of the self-defense mechanism in your body.

Your immune system prevents infection of bone marrow or a broken bone by causing the inflammation that increases the internal temperature.  The additional heat works similar to a fever by discouraging bacteria reproduction.


Osteoarthritis is a very common chronic condition that is characterized by a slow erosion of the joint's connective tissue.  This is a result of waste materials that gradually build up around the joints along with general wear and tear.  Almost 80 percent of individuals that suffer from bone edema have osteoarthritis.

The most common place that this condition is seen is at the femur's head where it connects to the knee.  Studies suggest that this is nothing more than a coping mechanism.  It is very likely that your body is swelling your bone marrow with extra fluid to attempt to reduce any mineral deposits that are located in your joints.  This would in return push new white and red blood cells out of your bone, allowing them to be used immediately throughout your body.

Other Causes

Bone edema can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, vascular necrosis and pregnancy.  Many expectant mothers experience this condition when they are in their third trimester.


Non-drug treatment options consist of a lot of rest and physiotherapy.  In cases that are a bit more severe, core decompression may be necessary.  During this surgery, a hole is drilled by the surgeon into a part of the bone that is affected.  This allows for an increase in blood flow which results in new blood vessels forming, allowing healing to occur.

Drug treatments are also an option.  Vitamin D supplements are taken with bisphosphonates to help balance calcium and increase bone density.  This may be done by intravenous in some circumstances, depending on geography.


A vasoactive drug that is commonly used to treat pulmonary hypertension is another treatment option.  The drug seems to be effective in many cases because normal blood flow is encouraged by opening up the blood vessels.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are often helpful as well but if you are experiencing a substantial amount of pain, you will probably need something much stronger.  To prevent any further joint deterioration from taking place, exercises using weights and physical therapy conditioning are often recommended.

You can also promote calcium absorption by taking medications such as parathyroid hormones or calcitonin.  These will both help to strengthen your joints and bones.

Treatment is often dependent on the severity, cause and the length of time that the condition has been present.  Whether the bone edema is a result of injury, osteoarthritis or pregnancy, only your physician can provide a diagnosis and recommend proper treatment options.