Strong association of MRI meniscal derangement and bone marrow lesions in knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2009 Jun;17(6):743-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.11.014. Epub 2008 Nov 27.


Introduction: Meniscal damage is common in knee Osteoarthritis (OA) and predictive of structural progression, suggesting that their disruption plays a role in the development of OA. The bone marrow lesion (BML) is associated with pain and is a strong risk factor for structural progression. These lesions are associated with abnormal loading in a knee joint. Therefore, our hypothesis was that in those with symptomatic knee OA, large BMLs would be associated with ipsi-compartmental meniscal derangement.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of a subsample of the Osteoarthritis Initiative where one set of magnetic resonance (MR) images from each participant was scored for tibiofemoral BMLs and meniscal derangement. We performed chi-squared tests comparing the prevalence of large BMLs in those with ipsi-compartmental meniscal derangement and those without.

Results: 160 Participants had a mean age of 61 (+/-9.9), mean BMI of 30.3 (+/-4.7) and 50% were female. 79% of medial and 39% of lateral menisci showed MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) derangement. In those with medial meniscal MRI derangement, 44% had large medial BMLs while in those without medial meniscal derangement, 0% had large BMLs. Similar results were seen in the lateral compartment.

Conclusion: Medial and lateral MRI meniscal derangement are highly prevalent in symptomatic knee OA and BMLs are highly associated with ipsi-compartmental MRI meniscal derangement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / injuries
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*