Hyperextension of the knee is a common injury among athletes. Hyperextensions of the knee can occur to anyone but are frequently the result of athletic injuries. Athletes who compete in contact sports like football, soccer, or lacrosse are most commonly affected. Other sports, like skiing, may cause the knee joint to suddenly be moved out of position and cause this injury. Those who are highly active, older adults, and labor workers are at a higher risk of suffering hyperextended knee injuries.

The condition can be caused by a variety of things, including overuse, improper landing technique, or direct impact to the knee. In most cases, hyperextension will cause swelling and pain in the affected area. Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the injury but typically include ice therapy, rest, and physical therapy.

Causes of Knee Hyperextension?

There are a number of things that can cause knee hyperextension, but the most common are overuse, improper landing technique, and direct impact to the knee. These can cause damage to the ligaments within the joint, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. If hyperextension is left untreated, it can lead to further damage and long-term problems. Any injury to one or more of the four major ligaments in the knee can lead to hyperextension.

Your knee is said to have hyperextended when your knee joint bends backward, and this causes tissue damage and swelling. Most of the damage happens in the ACL and the PCL, which are the two ligaments in the middle of the knee. These ligaments connect the shinbone to the thighbone and help control the movement of your shinbone.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. It is responsible for stabilizing the joint and preventing hyperextension. When this ligament is injured, it can cause instability and reduced range of motion.

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the third major ligament in the knee. It is located on the knee's backside and helps stabilize and protect the joint. When it is injured, you may experience pain, swelling, and instability.

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is also commonly injured in hyperextension. The MCL is located on the knee's inside and helps stabilize the joint. When it is damaged, you may experience pain, swelling, and instability.

The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is the fourth major ligament in the knee. It is located on the knee's outside and helps stabilize and protect the joint. 

What are the symptoms of hyperextension of the knee and how is it diagnosed?

Symptoms of a hyperextended knee can include swelling, pain, difficulty moving the knee, and weakness. The injury is typically diagnosed with a physical exam that includes checking the range of motion at different angles. Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI.

Swelling- hyperextended knee injuries often swell near the back of the knee (anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or at the front of the knee (patella). If swelling encompasses the entire knee, seek medical treatment to prevent further knee injury. 

Pain- Is caused by blood pressing against the nerve endings around the knee. If pain symptoms worsen when standing or walking, there's a chance of cartilage or ligament tear.

Difficulty moving the knee- When checking knee range of motion, first listen for any knee clicking. Then move knee up and down, then side to side. If a limited range of motion exist, start seeking at-home treatments.

Weakness/Instability- walking or during activity is expected with knee hyperextension. If knee instability occurs, sit down and elevate the knee to prevent further knee injury.

How is hyperextension of the knee treated?

Treatment for a hyperextended knee will vary depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, treatment will include R.I.C.E: Rest, Ice therapy, Compression, Elevation, and physical therapy. If the injury is severe, surgery may be required.

R.I.C.E Recovery method

1. Rest

It is essential to rest the injured knee to allow it time to heal. This may mean taking a break from any high-intensity or high-impact activities and avoiding contact sports. Gentle range of motion exercises are best at this time. 

2. Ice Therapy

Ice therapy is one of the most common treatments for a hyperextended knee. Ice can help reduce swelling and pain. It is recommended to ice the knee for 15 minutes multiple times per day.

3. Compression

Compression of the knee with a compression wrap or elastic bandage can help manage swelling and reduce pain. It is recommended to do compression in the mornings and before bed.

4. Elevation

Try to elevate your leg above your heart whenever possible. Lie in bed with your leg on a pillow or while relaxing in a recliner chair. Elevation should be done while sleeping for the best results.

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Other treatment methods

Physical Therapy- Physical therapy may be recommended to help regain strength and range of motion in the knee. Physical therapists can also provide exercises to help prevent future injuries.

Surgery- Surgery may be necessary for more serious injuries, such as a torn ACL or PCL. Surgery typically involves repairing or reconstructing the ligament. Rehabilitation after surgery is often extensive and can take several months

Thermosleeve Knee Brace

In order to help prevent sore muscles and weak joints that result in Hyperextended Knee, the Thermosleeve knee brace uses heat to soothe discomfort and provide extra support for the leg and knee. Working similarly to the Cryosleeve, the Thermosleeve has three temperature settings and a two-hour battery life to provide warmth and comfort to your ailing limbs. It also has the all-important dials that allow you to adjust the sized brace for just the right fit.

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Recovery Time

The recovery time for a hyperextended knee can vary depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, recovery will take place over a period of several weeks. Mild to moderate injuries may require two to four weeks of rest and rehab. More severe injuries may require surgery and rehabilitation that can last up to six months or more.

How can you prevent hyperextension of the knee from occurring in the first place?

The easiest way to prevent knee injuries is to have your body aligned and actively improve your balance. The majority of professional athletes go to a chiropractor once a week for body alignments. When the body is in sync, the risk of injury decreases. All non contact knee injuries happen when the lower leg is off balance and plant their foot. Daily balance workouts will teach the muscles how to land correctly without suffering an injury. Look up any professional athlete's workout routine, balance, movement balance is incorporated in nearly every workout to lower the risk of injury.

Prevention of Knee Hyperextension

Strengthen the muscles around the joint – exercises that focus on strengthening the hamstrings, quads, and glutes can be helpful in preventing future injuries.

Use proper landing technique – when landing from a jump or fall, make sure to land with your knees bent and try to absorb the impact with your muscles rather than your ligaments.

Wear protective gear – if you are involved in contact sports or activities that may put your knees

Maintain good balance - and coordination with exercises such as yoga and Pilates. Try to incorporate in daily workout routine 

Avoid contact sports

Physical therapy- can help to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve range of motion. Exercises that focus on strengthening the hamstrings, quads, and glutes can be helpful in preventing future injuries.

Knee hyperextension can be the result of a variety of things, including overuse and improper landing technique. In order to prevent knee injuries from happening in the first place, you should consider strengthening your muscles around this joint with exercises such as yoga or Pilates. Physical therapy is also beneficial for recovering from a more serious injury that may require surgery. Always use proper landing technique when jumping or falling and make sure to wear protective gear if you are involved in contact sports. Finally, maintain good balance and coordination in your everyday activities. This will help decrease your risk of injuring your knee in the future. 


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