Hyperextended Knee

Facts About Hyperextended Knee

Hyperextended knee is a common injury that can easily occur to most athletes or victims of a bad fall.  This injury is a result of the knee extending beyond its fully straightened position. When the straightened lower leg is pushed beyond the knee’s ability to bend, damage to the knee, tendons and ligaments may result.  Frequently, dancers, gymnasts, and basketball players are the most common of athletes to have this injury occur.  Often times, it is because of a fall or landing an improper way from a jump.

Signs and symptoms of hyperextended knee will be immediately noticeable. Some have described a very obvious popping sound that can be heard followed by severe pain. When the knee twists in two separate directions, specifically a direction it is not designed to, severe pain, tendon, and ligament damage can be an instant result. A victim of hyperextended knee may experience difficulty or instability when walking. Some have described the occurrence of their knee “giving out” afterwards which may result in additional falls and further injury.

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Immediate treatment should include taking weight off the injured leg by sitting or lying down, the application of ice to the injured area, and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory pain medications). If mobility is limited, swelling is severe, and pain persists, a doctor should be consulted. After x-rays and mri’s are performed, the severity of the injury can be determined and the course of long term treatment chosen.

For less severe cases of hyperextended knee, ace bandages, ice application, and rest may be the prescribed course of treatment for two to four weeks.  More severe injuries in which the tendons and ligaments have torn may require surgery followed by physical therapy.  This course of treatment may take up to 9 months to a year to fully heal the damaged knee. Unfortunately, if you’ve experience hyperextended knee once, your knee may become permanently weakened and can very easily hyperextend again. Wearing a knee brace when playing sports or actively walking may be necessary for years after the initial injury.

Preventing hyperextended knee is very difficult. Because it is often the result of a fall, accident, or awkward landing and not carelessness, the injury is usually not foreseeable. However, athletes should take care and precaution when performing sports. By being careful when landing from a jump or protecting themselves when possible from outside forces, athletes can do their best to protect themselves from this severe injury.

Recent studies have shown that yoga can be a way to lessen the chances of hyperextended knee and promote more rapid healing. Often times, hyperextended knee is the result of the tendons and ligaments being too loose and not strong enough to protect the knee. By doing yoga exercises specifically to strengthen the muscles of the calf and thighs, ligaments and tendons will tighten and provide a more stable structure for you knee. Extreme care should be taken to do the yoga exercises properly to not further exacerbate the hyperextended knee injury. There are many yoga articles and magazines designed specifically to teach yoga positions that will aid in the strengthening of your leg muscles and as a result protect your knee from potential future injuries.

In conclusion, hyperextended knee is a very painful, but common injury. Care should be taken to promote knee health by strengthening leg muscles and encouraging a healthy exercise routine. Although hyperextended knee is often times unpreventable, awareness and an understanding of how it occurs may make it easier to be cautious when playing sports that could result in this particular injury.