medial meniscus
medial meniscus tear
meniscus tear
posterior horn tear
posterior meniscus tear

What Are the Causes of a Posterior Horn Meniscus Tear?

A young woman is holding her knee in pain.


According to, a torn meniscus is an injury to one or more of the two C-shaped pieces of cartilage in each of the knee joints. A posterior horn tear specifically involves a posterior inner aspect of the meniscus that's more toward the center of the knee joint. Meniscal tears are typically diagnosed with an MRI and first treated conservatively. However, cases that cause severe pain or discomfort may require surgical treatment.

Forceful Twist

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) says a forceful blow or twist can cause a posterior horn meniscal tear. This occurs if you suddenly pivot during physical activities, such as football, basketball, soccer or rugby. After a posterior horn tear, you may notice pain, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, clicking and popping in the knee. In this case, schedule an appointment with a doctor. In addition, a forceful twist that causes knee pain may include damage to knee ligaments.


Kneeling may cause a posterior horn meniscal tear, says. Kneeling is the bending of the knee, usually to pick up an object. At times, especially in older people, excessive stress can be placed on the posterior horn of the knee, which can cause a tear. Furthermore, deep squatting or lifting a heavy object can cause a tear in the posterior meniscus of a younger person. Left untreated, the torn piece of meniscus can come loose and move into other parts of the joint that can cause popping, locking or clicking in the knee.


The AAOS says older people are more likely to have meniscal tears. Specifically, older people are more likely to have degenerative meniscal tears, which occur because of years of wear and tear on the knee and cartilage in the knee. Cartilage weakens and wears thin over time, which can cause a tear during normal daily activity. Older people are also more likely to have arthritis, which can cause increased discomfort when combined with a meniscal tear. Get a proper physical exam, imaging and treatment to cure symptoms.

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