Bone bruises (also known as bone contusion, trabecular microfracture) are an osseous injury that results from compression of bone structures.

Bone bruises represent trabecular microfractures with hemorrhage and without a discrete fracture line or contour abnormality 4. They typically appear within 48 hours of injury and can persist for up to six months 3.

Most bone contusions are a result of a direct blow to the bone, traction from avulsion trauma, or load to a subchondral surface 1,2,5. Depending on where bone contusion is seen, the underlying trauma mechanism can be identified.

They can progress to osteochondritis dissecans 2

Plain radiography will not demonstrate cancellous features but can show regions of impaction, for example, a Hill-Sachs lesion 5

MRI is the modality of choice when investigating bone marrow. Bone (marrow) contusion is typically focal and ill-defined with the following signal characteristics 4

  • T1: focal hypointense area of bone marrow
  • T2 fat-saturated: focal hyperintense area of bone marrow

Article information

rID: 32984
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Bone contusion
  • Trabecular microfractures
  • Trabecular microfracture
  • Bone bruising
  • Bone bruise
  • Bone marrow contusion
  • Bone marrow bruise
  • Bone contusions

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 4: with hyperextension knee injury
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