Hyperextension of the knee is a condition characterized by your knees bending backward because of an excessive pressure has been applied to it, usually when positioned straightly. Graphically, it can be described that the posterior knee joint opened up too wide causing the tibia or the shinbone to extend backwards. The bending of which and the opening of the knee joint are all abnormally beyond their limit.
The Causes of the Hyperextension of the Knee
There are many causes of knee hyperextension, below are some of the listed known factors:
- As it has been briefly mentioned, hyperextension of the knee is mostly likely to occur when a person whose legs are straightly placed received a terrible blow or force that extends the knee backwards. Other than hyperextension, injuries such as this can also cause tearing of several ligaments and knee dislocation.
- Another cause of the hyperextension of the knee is when a great stress has been applied to this joint like for example landing in an extended knee position after a jump. These instances can be commonly seen among rigorous sports that overexerts the knees like basketball, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics. Getting hyperextension of the knee will also open you up for anterior cruciate ligament damage because it has been reported to increase ACL damage by five more times than other causes.
- When it is a deformity and not caused by any physical injuries, the hyperextension of the knee is developed to compensate an imbalance between the front and back muscles of the thigh.
Symptoms of Knee Hyperextension
Hyperextension of the knee can be characterized according to its severity. It can be classified as mild, moderate or severe and each has its own symptoms for you to watch out for.
The different symptoms are:
– An extreme pain that surrounds the back and the side of the knees
– Painful discomfort while walking or with any activities involving the knees
– A popping sound the moment you got your knees hyperextended. The “pop” sound is because of the ligament tearing
– Knee instability and the feeling of imbalance
– Restriction in the range of motions of the knee involved.
Treatments for the Hyperextension of the Knee
There is mnemonic used for the immediate treatment of this injury and it is called PRICE. The letters stand for the following procedures:
P – Protect. You should cease what you are doing and you should utilize some walking support in order to shift the pressure from the knee to the support.
R – Rest. Needless to say, if hyperextension of the knee has occurred, you should abstain from sports or other physical activities that can worsen the injury.
I – Ice. Apply some ice to the injured part and use it for about 10 to 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. The coldness of the ice will numb you for the pain, even for just a little.
C – Compress. You can use an ACE bandage in wrapping the injured area. The wrapping will decrease the swelling and it will alleviate the pain
E – Elevate. It is important to raise the injured leg above the level of the heart to lessen swelling.
Treating what can be treated
When the causes of Hyperextended knee are soft tissue injuries, it can be treated using local therapy like braces, infiltrations, physiotherapy, electrotherapy and massages.
Analgesics may also be useful as a treatment for short periods of time. Heat and cold (depending of the cause) may relieve symptoms. Local application creams also help reduce discomfort.
Overloading of joints (obesity, lifting weights) may aggravate symptoms so it should be avoided by modifyng your lifestyle.
Regular muscle strengthening and stretching will be beneficial (Ask your doctor). Sports like swimming, Pilates and yoga are recommended.
Finally, the treatment of anxious and/or depressive component that may acompany this syndrome through appropiate drugs used in the lowest possible dose, can help.