What is Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery
What is Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear?
The Posterior Horn of the Medial Meniscus is an important structure of the knee and has an extremely important role to play in the functioning of the knee. The main function of this structure is to make sure that the knee functions normally. The Posterior Horn of the Medial Meniscus specializes in distribution of weight in the knee muscles. Along with this, it also acts as a shock absorber and prevents a lot of knee injuries due to falls and other sporting injuries or a direct blow to the knee. Hence, the functions of the Posterior Horn of the Medial Meniscus makes it vulnerable to risk of various injuries of which the most common injury is the Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear.
The most common causes of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear are sporting injuries, blunt trauma to the knee, and normal wear and tear of the knee leading to a worn out meniscus causing a tear of the Posterior Horn of the Medial Meniscus. This condition can be treated both conservatively as well as surgery depending on the extent of the tear and if this condition is left untreated it may lead to other musculoskeletal conditions like osteoarthritis of the knee which is something quite disabling for an individual.
What Causes Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear?
As stated above, the most common cause of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear can be trauma to the knee which can be sustained due to a sporting injury, a slip and fall, a blunt trauma to the knee, and in majority of the cases natural degeneration of the meniscus due to the work load of the knee. This is especially found in people who are involved in running, people who stand for prolonged periods of time at work putting additional stress on the knee like those in the hospitality business. These people are at increased risk for developing early degeneration of the knee structures and are vulnerable to conditions like Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear.
What are the Symptoms of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear?
Some of the symptoms of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear are:
- Extreme stiffness in the knee such that it becomes difficult to move the knee in any direction
- Pain with swelling of the knee which increases with any sort of movement of the knee, especially with squatting
- Instability of the foot leading to frequent falls
- Locking of the knee.
How is Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear Diagnosed?
There are three aspects in confirmatively diagnosing the tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. To begin with, the doctor will take a detailed history of the patient to inquire about the nature of the injury and the extent of the symptoms. A detailed physical examination will be conducted of the knee to look for areas of tenderness and swelling. A range of motion check will also be done to rule out something like a fracture or a soft tissue injury. The doctor may do a diagnostic test called the McMurray test in which the knee of the patient will be bent and then straightened back in forward and backward direction.
While doing this maneuver, if there is a clicking sound heard and there is intense pain experienced by the patient then the diagnosis of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear is more or less confirmed. For confirmation of the diagnosis, radiological studies in the form of x-rays and MRI/CT scan will be performed to look at the internal structures of the knee and rule out conditions like osteoarthritis as a cause of symptom for the patient. These above tests definitively diagnose a tear of the posterior horn of medial meniscus.
How is Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear Treated?
Treating Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear is quite complex and is quite challenging for the doctor. It is believed that only about 10% of patients with injuries resulting in Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear are completely repairable. The main aim of treatment is to slow down the disease process and avoid complications like osteoarthritis. Depending on the extent of the injury and the extent of tear of the Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus the following treatment options are followed"
- Partial meniscectomy
- Physical therapy
- Activity modification.
Partial Medial Meniscectomy is one of the most common treatments done for treatment of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear. This is a surgical procedure in which some part of the meniscus including the part that is torn or ruptured is excised. Once the wound from the surgery is healed, the patient is asked to undergo intensive physical therapy so as to reactivate the muscles and thus regain muscle mass and regain range of motion of the knee which is lost due to the tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. Normally it takes about six weeks postsurgery for a patient to perform light activities and put some weight on the affected foot, although the patient should continue with physical therapy to further strengthen the foot and ankle.
For cases where significant amount of meniscus need to be removed it is advised that such patients do not put much stress on their feet as they are at a greater risk for developing osteoarthritis The patient is also advised not to flex the knee more than 90 degrees. Also, the patient should avoid high impact or loading activities until at least six weeks after surgery for treating of Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear.
What is the Recovery Time Post Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear?
For patients in whom only a small portion of the meniscus is removed and the tear is not that much then the recovery time for such patients range from 6 to 8 weeks postsurgery before they can return to light activities and after aggressive physical therapy by 10 weeks they can go about doing their normal activities, although patients who undergo significant removal of the meniscus the recovery time is much higher and they are always at a risk for developing osteoarthritis despite adequate treatment for Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear.