For those who play sport, there are some common injuries to be wary of. A sprained ankle, sore wrist, joint pain or a torn muscle, just to name a few. Often we can often push through (although we really shouldn’t), however, there are certain injuries that no matter who you are, will keep you off your feet. One particularly frustrating issue is hyperextension, specifically in the knee. Luckily, there are some simple ways to protect yourself and prevent knee hyperextension while playing sport.
What is knee hyperextension?
Hyperextension occurs when the knee joint extends too far forward, causing the knee to bend inwards. Along with pain and discomfort, it causes strain on the ligaments, meniscus, cartilage and the bones themselves.
Hyperextension is usually caused by some kind of direct or indirect force, it could be a collision with another player, or your foot could get stuck while you’re moving with force.
Some people are more prone to hyperextension than others, and if you are affected by any of the following you should be extra wary:
- Weakened ligaments
- Hypermobility or joint weakness
- EDS or other genetic connective disorders
- Previous hyperextensions or dislocations
- Underdeveloped muscles/bones
Whether or not you have any of these issues, if you are playing contact sport the risk of hyperextension is very much present.
How to prevent knee hyperextension in sport
When it comes to preventing knee hyperextension, there are a few ways to protect yourself while still enjoying your time on the sports field.
Wearing a brace or strap
When the knee hyperextends, it’s normally due to an overstraining of your knee’s mechanical stability. Strapping, taping and bracing all act to support your body’s natural mechanical movement.
While most people will be fine with basic support such as the Sports Knee Support.
If you’ve had previous hyperextensions, other injuries or chronic issues with the knee, then it is recommended to use advanced support, such as the GenuTrain S.
The GenuTrain S features lateral hinged splints which guide the knee’s movement and can be easily reshaped with heat to adapt to the anatomy of each person’s knee joint. A ring-shaped gel pad, which surrounds the kneecap, provides a massaging effect to help reduce inflammation and pain around the knee joint.
Exercises and strengthening
Targeted exercises will strengthen the knee, as well as the surrounding muscles, and can help reduce the risk of hyperextension.
While it’s best to work alongside a physiotherapist to get the best support for your particular issues, there are some general exercises which are great for anyone:
- Stationary bike
- Walls sits
- Quad sets
- Gentle hamstring exercises
- Straight leg raises
If you have recurring issues with your knee, you may find it useful to wear a brace or support to protect the knee during rehabilitation or while doing these types of strengthening exercises.
Improve overall stability
Hyperextension of the knee is connected to your hips, ankles, feet and back. Surprisingly, your posture (both while standing, as well when you're running or playing sport) can have a considerable effect when it comes to your body's risk of injury.
If you are affected by anything that puts you at risk of hyperextension, then it’s best to help stabilise your whole body. Here are a few ways to provide that overall stability:
- Sports insoles to keep your feet level in every part of your step.
- Well-fitting shoes that support your ankles and keep you light on your feet.
- Stretches and exercises that target your core to improve posture while moving.
- Strengthening your hamstrings and quads.
- If you have issues with your running gait, consult a physiotherapist to retrain your legs.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.