Knee back (hyperextension) injury is a problem that can occur in any situation where the knee is forced to open beyond its normal range of motion, especially sports injuries. In this article, we discussed the injury caused by the knee being forced backwards, which is mostly seen in young athletes. Most knee injuries in athletes, especially anterior cruciate ligament injuries, occur with this mechanism.
Normally, our knee performs bending and opening movements within a certain limit. The opening movement (extension) is up to “0”; this means that the leg is straight. The bending movement (flexion) takes place at an average of “135” degrees.
Who Gets Knee Kickback Injury?
If the knee is forced to open more in terms of normal range of motion, a back injury of the knee called hyperextension occurs. In this injury, the ligaments that connect the knee bones are subjected to severe stress. This injury can be seen in sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, skiing. Apart from these, it can occur in any situation where the knee is exposed to external force.
There are four main ligaments that connect the knee bones and give the knee strength. These are anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial cruciate ligament and lateral cruciate ligament. If the knee is forced to open more than “0”, which is the normal maximum degree of opening, these ligaments can be stretched or even ruptured. Findings such as swelling, pain and instability in the knee can be seen.
How Does a Hyperextension Injury Happen?
If the basketball player suddenly stops while his weight is on one leg, the thighbone and kneecap want to continue their forward motion on the calf. The knee is subjected to force in the direction of hyperextension. As a result, the ligaments in the knee can be damaged. In sports, such as football, in which double combat is intense, a direct blow to the front of the knee may force the knee backwards and anterior cruciate ligament damage may occur due to hyperextension injury. In traumatic injury, cartilage and other soft tissues may also be damaged.
What Symptoms Occur in an Injury in which the Knee is Forced Backwards?
Symptoms vary according to the type and severity of injury. One of the most common symptoms is a weak feeling of the knee. The person may feel as if he is falling into the void, the knee is letting go, releasing. This condition in which knee stiffness decreases is called instability. There may be pain, swelling and restriction in movements in the knee. There may be bruising on the skin in traumatic injuries. Cracking sound during injury may indicate ligament rupture. In this case, severe pain occurs. The person should apply to the health institution without delay.
How is the diagnosis made?
In traumatic cases, an orthopedic and traumatology doctor is first consulted. The doctor questions the way the injury occurred. It may be important if she has had a similar trauma before. It is then examined. The appearance of the knee, swelling and bruising are examined. Pain and tenderness are assessed by touch. Index movement is controlled. It is checked whether there is an increase or decrease in the normal range of motion. The strength of the ligaments is tested with some special maneuvers. Then, X-ray and MRI may be required.
How Is It Treated?
In traumatic cases where soft tissues are damaged, the first treatment is rest, cold application, wrapping with a compression bandage, and keeping the affected area above the level of the heart. Thus, the joint is protected and measures are taken to reduce edema. Edema and pain-reducing, cooling sprays and gels can be used. Pain relievers can be prescribed by the doctor. After the acute injury has subsided, exercises without forcing the joint can be started to prevent muscle wasting, called isometric exercise. If there is no ligament rupture, if the problem is in the size of a stretch or partial tear, the person can return to his normal life with physical therapy.
Surgery may be required in cases with ligament (for example, anterior cruciate ligament) rupture or meniscus tear . Surgery is usually performed with a closed technique (arthroscopic). Physical therapy is applied to return to normal life and sports after surgery.