A hyperextended knee refers to a knee injury that occurs after a high-impact accident. For instance, you could land hard and awkwardly after a jump.
This means that people involved in consistent high-impact activities, i.e., athletes are the most susceptible.
During hyperextension, the knee bends unnaturally. In severe cases, the anterior crucial ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) may be severely sprained or ruptured.
This results in moderate to excruciating pain, swelling and tissue damage. To remedy these injuries, hyperextended knee exercises are recommended.
This is because these exercises improve your range of motion after injury and restore strength in the weakened muscles.
There are various hyperextended knee exercises that you can do to rehabilitate a hyperextended knee injury.
1. QUADRICEPS STRETCH
Quadriceps stretch restores balance, and the strength they provide means you can endure stress to the knee.
To do this exercise:
Hold on to a wall or back of a chair to balance yourself. Bend your knee, lift your heel, grasp your ankle with your hand, and pull it toward your butt.
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Avoid arching or twisting your back. Repeat with your other leg. Do one set of two to three reps, four to five times per week.
2. HALF-SQUAT STRENGTHENING EXERCISE
These hyperextended knee exercises increase the demands placed on the quadriceps, which require the support of the knees.
As a result, this leads to increased muscular strength and hypertrophy for all involved muscle groups, including the hyperextended knee.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands either on your thighs or in front of you. You can hold the back of a chair or the wall for balance if you need to.
Lower your hips as if you’re going to sit in a chair, keeping your chest lifted as you do.
Hold for five seconds before returning to standing, keeping your weight on your heels as you do. Be careful not to bend forward at your waist.
As you become stronger, you can hold hand weights to challenge yourself further.
Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.
3. HAMSTRING CURL
Hamstring curls are used to stabilize your knees. To start:
Lie on your stomach with your knees straight. Place a pillow under your stomach. If your kneecap is uncomfortable, roll up a face cloth and put it under your leg just above your kneecap.
Lift the foot of your affected leg by bending your knee so that you bring your foot up toward your buttock. If this motion hurts, try it without bending your knee quite as far. This may help you avoid any painful motion.
Slowly move your leg up and down. Repeat 8 to 12 times. When you can do this exercise with ease and no pain, add some resistance. To do this:
Tie the ends of an exercise band together to form a loop. Attach one end of the loop to a secure object or shut a door to hold it in place.
You can also have someone hold one end of the loop to provide resistance. Loop the other end of the exercise band around the lower part of your affected leg.
Repeat the steps provided above, slowly pulling back on the exercise band with your leg.
4. STRAIGHT-LEG EXTENSIONS STRENGTHENING EXERCISE
These hyperextended knee exercises build the muscles around the hyperextended, consequentially strengthening the knee itself. This ensures that the knee is protected from further injury.
Recline back on the floor with your elbows supporting your upper body. Bend the uninjured knee, so the foot is flat on the floor, keeping your injured leg straight.
Flex the thigh muscle of your injured leg and raise it about a half-foot to 10 inches. Hold for five seconds, then lower your leg back to the floor.
Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.
5. LEG EXTENSIONS STRENGTHENING EXERCISE
Sit on a chair or bench. With your thigh muscles flexed, straighten and raise your affected leg as high as possible until it is parallel with the floor.
Squeeze your thigh muscle and hold the position for five seconds. Relax, and then return your foot to the floor.
Avoid swinging your leg or lifting it forcefully. Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.
6. SKELETAL ALIGNMENT AWARENESS KNEE SINK
These hyperextended knee exercises are primarily used as a precautionary measure, but they can be used for rehabilitation as well
Start standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Allow yourself to relax into what feels like your “normal” standing position, with your knees hyperextended but not locked.
Slowly sink and bend your knees, then return to your neutral, hyperextended stance. Repeat this 5 times.
Repeat step 2, but stop just before you hit your hyperextended stance. Your legs should be straight, but they might not feel fully extended. Repeat this 10 times.
7. RESISTANCE TRAINING FOR THE KNEES
Tie an exercise band or an alternative, i.e., towel around a stationary object. Step your left leg inside the loop and position the exercise band behind your knee. Walk backwards until there’s tension in the band.
Keeping both legs planted firmly on the ground, slowly bend and straighten your left leg 10 times, making sure to avoid hyperextending the knee. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
8. STATIONARY LUNGE WITH FORWARD LEAN
Lunges are great hyperextended knee exercises to strengthen the quad and hamstring muscles to help the knees.
This also helps with the pain of a hyperextended knee injury.
Lunging straight up and down — without stepping either foot forward or backwards — adds stability and reduces impact to this common knee-dominant move.
Meanwhile, maintaining a slight forward torso lean helps move stress from the front knee to the hips. Stand with one foot a few feet in front of the other (optional: hold a dumbbell in each hand).
Lean your torso forward as far as is comfortable or until your shoulders and hands are directly over the middle of your front foot.
Bend both knees to lower toward the floor as far as is comfortable. Pause, then press through the heel of your front foot to raise to start.
9. WALL PRESS
Wall press focuses on the soft tissues supporting the knee joint. In the long run, this ends up providing long term health for your knees
Stand tall next to a wall with feet together, the nearest foot about six inches from the wall. Bend the hip and knee of the leg closest to the wall.
Press that knee and lower thigh, but not the foot and lower leg, into the wall. Hold, then repeat on the opposite side.
10. SINGLE-LEG LATERAL STEP UP
Stand next to a step about 6 to 8 inches high. Step up with the injured leg, transfer the weight and lift the passive leg off the ground.
Come up to full extension through the hip and knee. Step down and lightly touch the floor with your heel, then press back up. Repeat for three sets of 15 repetitions.
Performing hyperextended knee exercises requires a delicate balance. As such, before you perform any of these hyperextended knee exercises, you are required to see a physical therapist.
This ensures you are doing the right exercise at the right stage.
In the event of a severe hyperextended knee injury, i.e., torn ACL, surgery is the only option.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]