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What is Knee Hyperextension?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Knee hyperextension is all too common among athletes and sports professionals. The condition can be debilitating, though its effect will depend on your body and how you sustained the injury in the first place. The injury can set you back in your training, but it's important that you rest your body sufficiently as this will save you time off in the long run anyway. Find out more about the condition and what you can do to prevent it by reading this blog.

What Causes the Condition?

Hyperextension occurs when the knee joint is forced to move backwards beyond its normal range of motion. This puts more stress on the four ligaments in the surrounding area and can even cause painful tears as a result. A hyperextended knee is usually caused by sudden trauma, most commonly while playing sports; dancing; or getting in a car accident.

Signs and Symptoms of a Hyperextended Knee

The most common symptom of the condition is that you'll feel a great deal of pain in your knee joint. You might also have difficult moving the affected limb; bending or straightening your leg is usually particularly difficult. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Knee instability

In severe cases, you might even tear one of the ligaments in the areas. This is usually accompanied by a popping or cracking sound and tenderness along the joint.

Treatment Options

Unless one of your ligaments have been torn in the process (in which case, check out the "What is an ACL Injury?" blog), the best way you can treat a hyperextended knee is to follow the principles of PRICE, as outlined below:

  1. Protect: prevent further injury by using a support to protect the area.
  2. Rest: take a rest from your normal exercise regime and reduce the amount of activity you perform. Use a crutch or walking stick so you don't bear weight on the affected knee.
  3. Ice: apply an ice pack (or bag of frozen veg!) to the affected area every two to three hours for 15 - 20 minutes.
  4. Compress: use a bandage or support that compresses the area to reduce swelling and promote healing.
  5. Elevate: try to keep your knee above the level of your heart as much as possible.

If the knee is deformed or you suffer from a loss of feeling in the joint and surrounding area, it's vital that you seek medical attention.

How Long Will it Take to Recover?

Unless you damage one of the major ligaments, recovery from a hyperextended knee can be pretty speedy; the process usually takes between two and four weeks and your health professional is likely to show you physical therapy exercises to help strengthen and rehabilitate your knee. Re-injury in the area can occur, so it's integral that you follow your healthcare professional's advice and ease back into your active lifestyle. Wearing a brace or support can help prevent the condition from recurring.

Hyperextended Knees at Health and Care

At Health and Care, we're passionate about your health and well-being. High impact and contact sports are extremely enjoyable for the daring, but they can increase your risk of knee hyperextension and other conditions. If you're serious about your active lifestyle, take a look at the Donjoy Armor Professional Knee Brace with Fourcepoint as it helps prevent hyperextension, ACL and MCL tears, as well as other knee injuries. We also have a range of other knee supports for hyperextension; check them out by using the search bar above.

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Tags: Health and Care Expert Series, Hyperextension, Knee Pain, Learn About Conditions