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What is a posterior horn meniscus tear?

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Quick Answer

A posterior horn meniscus tear is a tear in the knee near the C-shaped cartilage disk called the meniscus, according to Howard J. Lusk MD. This part of the knee provides cushioning and a shock absorber, which helps to reduce stress on other knee cartilage.

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Full Answer

This is a common area of the knee to experience a tear since it absorbs a lot of the person’s weight, notes the Steadman Clinic. Patients that have a posterior horn meniscus tear often experience pain, stiffness and swelling that happens gradually. Other possible symptoms include not being able to straighten the knee, instability while standing or walking, catching or locking of the knee joint, and pain near the back of the knee when squatting.

After diagnosing a posterior horn meniscus tear, the physician recommends trying meniscus tear repair, according to the Steadman Clinic. This only works in about 10 percent of the meniscal tear cases, but if successful, it reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. If the repair is not successful, the patient is watched closely to look for signs of swelling or pain, particularly during physical activities. Other treatments for this type of tear and the resulting osteoarthritis are meniscal transplantation, injections, physical therapy and activity modification.

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