What is Hyperextension of the Knee?
One of the more complex joints in your body is your knee, with multiple tendons and ligaments working together to allow it to function optimally. Because of this intricate anatomy and the stress you put on your knees daily, they can be susceptible to strain and injury. Your knees play an essential role in your life on a regular basis, and it is because of their importance that you should attempt to keep them healthy. The knee can be injured in numerous different ways, one of the more common injuries among athletes in hyperextension.
Hyperextension of the knee occurs when too much force is put on one or more of the major ligaments in your knee. This can also happen if the joint is extended past its normal range of motion. When the knee gets hyperextended it is usually associated with an injury to one or more of four ligaments.
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) can be found near the back of the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which runs through the center of the knee, the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) flows down from your upper thigh along the outside of each knee, and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) that lies in the middle of your knee in between your femur and tibia. This group of ligaments is sometimes referred to the four major ligaments of the knee, so causing damage to even one of them could be categorized as a serious injury.
Who is at Risk?
This type of injury is more common in athletes that participate in contact sports rather than the average person. However, it can occur during any activity that puts pressure on the knee joint such as weight lifting, running, jumping, possibly even walking. Any activity that puts too much pressure or weight on the joint and forces the knee to extend or move out of its range of motion could cause damage to the soft tissues in the knee. An event that causes hyperextension can be violent within the knee, even causing strains or tears to the LCL, PCL, MCL and/or the ACL.
What are the Symptoms and Treatment?
Symptoms of hyperextension will be different for everyone due to a number of factors including the level of severity of the injury, the strength of the person’s joint, the way the knee was hyperextended, medical history and the individual’s overall basic health. There are some symptoms that can be common among hyperextensions regardless of severity. General instability of your knee is one of those symptoms where you may notice it having the feeling of buckling and being less stable than the other knee.
Pain in the joint can be common after sustaining this type of injury if one of the four primary knee ligaments was damaged or torn. This pain can be concentrated in one or more areas. Swelling may also occur in the knee area as well as bruising. Individuals who suffer from hyperextension may also have limited mobility of their lower leg due to the damage to the knee joint while fluid might build up inside the knee itself and cause tenderness.
Wearing a good and stable knee brace on your hyperextended knee while healing from this kind of incident could give you added stability and support for the knee itself. There are multiple types of knee braces out there, so it will be important to find the best knee brace for hyperextension to help aid your recovery process.
The R.I.C.E method (resting, icing, compressing and elevating) may be used to help treat hyperextension of the knee. This method is usually applied pretty frequently throughout the athletic and weight-lifting communities. It could help reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, irritation and also increase stability and mobility of the joint.
Hyperextension may require surgery based on how many ligaments are injured and the level of damage they have sustained. This is only necessary with the more extreme hyperextensions that cannot heal on their own.