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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 May;176(5):1149-54.

Subtendinous bone marrow edema patterns on MR images of the ankle: association with symptoms and tendinopathy.

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Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 111 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.



We sought to describe a pattern of subtendinous bone marrow edema on MR images of the ankle and to determine if there is an association with location of symptoms and overlying tendinopathy.


At 1.5 T, 141 MR examinations of the ankle (116 clinical examinations of patients with chronic pain, 25 of asymptomatic control patients) were performed using T1-weighted, proton density-weighted fast spin-echo, and T2-weighted fat-suppressed fast spin-echo sequences. Images were retrospectively reviewed by two musculoskeletal radiologists for presence of bone marrow edema occurring in a subcortical location associated with the course of the medial or lateral tendon groups, as well as focal thickening or increased T2 signal within the tendons. These findings were correlated with clinical information regarding symptom location. The association of subtendinous marrow edema with tendinopathy and symptom location was statistically analyzed.


Subtendinous bone marrow edema was present at 26 sites on 24 ankle MR examinations (17%) (at the medial malleolus [n = 17] associated with the posterior tibialis tendon, at the lateral malleolus [n = 6] and the calcaneus [n = 2] associated with the peroneus longus and brevis tendons, and at the cuboid [n = 1] associated with the peroneus longus tendon). These subtendinous bone marrow edema patterns were significantly associated with overlying tendon abnormality medially (p = 0.001) and laterally (p = 0.001), and with symptoms medially (p = 0.0016) but not laterally (p = 0.078).


On MR images of the ankle, bone marrow edema localized in a subtendinous location is associated with overlying tendinopathy medially and laterally and with ankle pain medially.

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