Hyperextended Knee; Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Knee Hyperextension occurs when the knee is bent too far backwards in the wrong direction. It is in a way pushed beyond its normal limits. Hyperextension can be mild or severe. In case of mild hyperextension, the symptoms usually subside within a few weeks but in case of severe hyperextension the ligaments that support the knee joint (ACL, PCL) may also be damaged. In addition, cartilage tissues may also be affected. The bones in young children are still forming and are very tender. Hyperextension in them may lead to chipping of a piece of bone from the main bone.


  • Sports activities that involve a lot of jumping and running or changing directions quickly
  • A strong force applied to the knee joint when the leg is in straightened position
  • Direct impact on the knee during a vehicular accident
  • Flexible sports such as gymnastics
  • Falling on the knee when the foot gets stuck or caught
  • Past injuries to the soft tissues of the joint may weaken it and make it prone to hyperextension
  • Inherent weakness of the quadriceps muscles


  • Pain at the back of the joint or on its sides
  • Soreness
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • A popping sound at the time of injury
  • Walking, climbing, bending and squatting can aggravate the pain and discomfort


  • Analysis of the patient’s past medical records, lifestyle and symptoms reported
  • The mode and time of injury are assessed
  • X-ray imaging to assess the condition of the bones within the joint
  • MRI or CT scan may be required to study the damaged soft tissue structures
  • Palpation and observation by an orthopedic doctor


  • Give rest to the injured leg by keeping it elevated at chest level
  • Apply ice packs at regular intervals to curb swelling
  • A soft bandage may be tied for compression
  • Use of a removable knee brace may be helpful in lending support and stability
  • Physical therapy may be recommended for muscle weakness and loss of strength in the joint. These also help build muscle mass in the joint
  • Surgery may be recommended if the condition does not settle down in spite of conservative therapy. During the procedure, the surgeon may tighten or repair the damaged cartilage or ligaments
  • Any activity that stresses or pressurizes the joint needs to be avoided post-surgery for a few weeks
  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed

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