Hyperextended Knee - Frisco, TX
A hyperextended knee is a condition when the knee joint is subjected to a push backwards while the leg is in a straightened position. It is a commonly occurring injury in sports persons and its severity may range from a minor inconvenience to a major physical trauma that can be debilitating. Hyperextension of the knee can damage the ligaments that support the knee joint as well as the cartilage. As the knee is pushed backwards due to an external force or movement, these supporting structures are also stretched beyond their limits resulting in tearing or stress. Damage to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) are the common injuries that may accompany a Hyperextended knee. Once the person suffers from Knee Hyperextension, the joint becomes weak. Treatment can restore the joint functioning but it cannot regain its original form.

Causes

  • Hyperextension can happen due to a variety of reasons.
  • Sports activities that involve a lot of jumping, running or directional changes e.g. basketball
  • Gymnastics that require flexing of the lower extremities beyond their normal capacity
  • A vehicular accident that may cause the knee joint to crash against the dashboard
  • A fall on the knee while the foot is trapped backwards
  • Weakness in the supporting quadriceps muscles can reduce the stability offered to the knee joint
  • Past knee injuries or trauma that may have caused ligament tears or instability

Symptoms

  • Moderate to sharp pain is felt on the sides of the joint or at the back of the knee cap
  • The knee may swell up some time after the injury
  • Limited range of motion as the patient may not be able to walk, kneel, bend the knee
  • In some cases, a popping sound may be heard or felt at the time of injury or fall
  • Bruising may occur if there is a soft tissue damage
  • The leg may become or feel unstable and the patient may feel as if it may buckle beneath the body weight
  • Fluid or water retention in the joint spaces may occur which makes it painful and tender to touch

Diagnosis

  • The details of the person’s past medical records, lifestyle, sports played, time and mode of injury are taken into consideration
  • The injured knee is examined by the orthopedic for visible symptoms and loss of range of motion as well as sensation
  • X-ray and MRI scan may be required to assess the location and severity of damage. This in turn helps the doctor decide upon the method of treatment needed
  • The leg may be moved to and fro to check for motion that is intact

Treatment

  • Resting the injured leg for 2-3 weeks may solve the problem
  • Ice packs may be used to bring down swelling and pain
  • Soft compression bandages can help support the knee
  • The knee should ideally be rested by keeping it elevated at chest level
  •  A removable knee brace may be used for support and to absorb external pressure
  • Specific stretching and strengthening exercises may be performed under physical therapy to improve the functioning of the supporting muscles
  • Medicines such as pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs may be given for relief
  • In case the condition is accompanied by ligament or cartilage tear, surgical repair of the soft tissues may be done
  • Arthroscopy- this is a surgical process that involves inserting a small camera guided instrument into the knee joint to view the interior. This helps in restructuring the injured joint structures and removing the debris if any