A hyperextended knee is a painful condition which occurs when the knee is extended beyond its normal range of extension. In other words the knee is bent backward beyond its capacity while absorbing a force or pressure put upon it. This type of knee injury can damage the vital parts of knee, namely the ligaments, menisci and the cartilage.
Hyperextended knee can occur in adults as well as children. The condition can be mild or severe. Mild injury heals within one month with proper rest and physical therapy thereafter. Severe hyperextended knee injury may need surgical repair.
What Causes Hyperextension Of Knee?
The condition occurs when the knee has to bear the weight of body. It thus occurs in standing position where the legs are fully extended, or rather over extended. Overextension causes the knee to bend backwards beyond the normal range of motion.
Overextended knee injury is common among athletes and gymnasts. People who take part in long jump and high jump are also at risk of suffering from overextended knee injury.
Overextended knee sometimes occurs when a person accidentally falls in a pothole while walking.
Symptoms Of Hyperextended Knee
Soon after hyperextension of knee, patient will feel a pop in the knee joint. He suffers from severe pain at the back and the side of knee joint. The knee becomes swollen. Patient finds it difficult to walk or stand on the affected leg. Depending on the severity of damage, swelling may be mild or extensive.
A person can easily identify whether his knee is hyperextended. He should stand in front of a mirror keeping both his legs adjacent to each other. He has to stand sideways. In normal person the legs are in line. However, if the knee is hyperextended, the affected leg will be more curved backwards than the other.
How To Treat A Hyperextended Knee?
Soon after the injury the person should avoid putting his weight on the affected leg. He should take help of crutches or any other person to walk and move towards safe place. He should lie down in a suitable place and give rest to the affected limb.
Meanwhile if ice is available, start applying it on the injured knee. Take few cubes of ice and wrap it in a clean cloth. Place the cloth on the injured area. It will help to reduce swelling and also the pain. Ice fomentation should continue for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat it three for times in first two days.
Place your leg slightly above the level of your heart when you lie down. It helps to reduce swelling. Now use a compression bandage and wrap it around the knee. It will help to stabilize the knee and also reduce swelling.
Anti inflammatory medicines and pain killer for few days is useful in alleviating pain and swelling. After few days of rest you may move around with the help of crutches. Do not put your weight on the affected knee. Keep the compression bandage tight enough so that the knee retains its natural position while walking with the help of crutches.
After few weeks of initial care, start doing simple physical exercises. It is necessary to regain the knee strength and improve the range of motion.
In severe knee hyperextension where the ligaments and menisci are torn, patient may have to undergo corrective surgery to regain the function of knee joint.