A photograph of a knee. The colors are black and white but the knee is colored red to indicate pain. Text overlay says understanding hyperextended knees your guide to symptoms, causes and care.

Understanding Hyperextended Knee: Your Guide to Symptoms, Causes, and Care

If you’ve had an experience where your leg overstraightened, pushing your knee joint beyond its normal range of motion, you might be experiencing knee hyperextension or hyperextended knees.

We will address the symptoms and causes of knee hyperextension as well as helping you to know when to visit your primary care physician at Primary Healthcare. 

What is a Hyperextended Knee? 

Hyper means “beyond.” Knee hyperextension occurs when the joint of your knee goes backwards beyond its normal range of motion. 

Hyperextension of the knee causes discomfort and can lead to various issues. 

Related Posts: 7 Ways to Prevent Knee Injuries

Symptoms of Knee Hyperextension:

Some of the symptoms that might point to your knee pain being hyperextension include: 

  • Instability: Your knee might feel wobbly when you put weight on it. 
  • Pain: Pain might present itself at the back of the knee or within the joint itself.
  • Swelling: You may experience some swelling due to inflammation. 
  • Limited Flexion: If you’ve hyperextended your knee, it might make it more difficult to bend the knee fully. 
  • Difficulty Walking: Walking may become challenging due to pain and instability.
A photo of a woman's legs. She has her knees wrapped around her knee as though in pain.

Common Causes of Knee Hyperextension:

There are some conditions that might lead to your knee becoming hyperextended. 

  • Sports Injuries: Athletes participating in sports including martial arts, dance and gymnastics might be at a higher risk for hyperextension injuries.
  • Ligament Injuries: If you have already had damage to one or more of the knee’s supporting ligaments (especially the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) you might be more prone to hyperextension.
  • Muscle Imbalance: Weakness in the muscles around the knee can contribute to hyperextension.
  • Previous Injuries: If you’ve had a history of knee injuries, you may be more likely to hyperextend your knee. 
  • Congenital Factors: Due to the shape of your knee joint, you may have a natural predisposition to hyperextension. 

If you feel like you might have hyperextended your knee, please schedule an appointment with a Sports Medicine Physician at Primary Healthcare Utah.

Dr. Kevin Mangum is a board certified Sports Medicine Physician who has experience helping with joint and muscle injuries and chronic issues. 

Related posts: Primary Healthcare Utah Sports Medicine Services

Hyperextended Knee Treatment Options

When you visit Primary Healthcare for a hyperextended knee, we will address it with a comprehensive approach including: 

  • Evaluation: A thorough physical examination and imaging, such as MRI or X-rays, to help diagnose the cause and severity of knee instability.
  • Non-surgical treatments: Conservative treatments include physical therapy, bracing, custom made orthotic insoles to help correct alignment and reduce the risk of hyperextension and muscle-strengthening exercises to improve knee stability.
  • Preventative Measures: Athletes might be advised to focus on proper form, muscle strength and balance and ways to prevent injury. 
  • Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could be prescribed to manage your pain and swelling. 
  • Surgical Intervention: In severe cases of knee hyperextension, it could cause ligament damage that requires surgical repair like PCL reconstruction. If surgical intervention is needed, Dr. Mangum will refer you to his network of exceptional orthopedic surgeons. 
A photo of a knee x-ray. The knee joints are tinted red to represent pain.

Key Takeaways: 

If you’ve felt an uncomfortable hyperextension in your knee, please use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Mangum at Primary Healthcare in Utah.

Knee hyperextension causes discomfort, instability and pain. By understanding the symptoms and causes of hyperextension, you’ll be able to recognize this condition and get appropriate medical care as soon as possible. 

After an evaluation, the knee doctor at Primary Healthcare Utah can help your knee return to normal function and help you return to your usual activities. 

Schedule an appointment by clicking here or by calling (801) 758-8735. 

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