Exercises for hyperextended knee

Submitted by Bonnie Sedan on March 8, 2013
Whenever the knee flexes in the opposite direction and extends beyond the straight, it is called hyperextension of the knee. The leg is supposed to be completely straight from hip to ankle. There are certain kinds of injuries that will cause the knee to hyperextend. This usually has long-term consequences to both the strength and the stability of the joint.

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Injury to the knee need not always be of a violent nature. Adapting to the posture while standing, or repeatedly putting pressure on the heel, over a period of time will cause hyperextension. If the injury is violent enough, it will cause severe pain and will need to be treated by a doctor.


The rehabilitation process invariably involves hyperextended knee exercises to strengthen the joint and to ensure that the damage is at least halted if not reversed.

Hyperextended knee exercises

Two of the most common exercises for hyperextended knee are given below.

Quarter squats

  • Squat slightly, keeping your back straight.
  • Stop as soon as you feel pressure or pain in the knee.
  • Hold for a few seconds before returning and repeating.

This exercise is meant to strengthen the ligaments that hold the knee in position.

Step ups

  • Place a low stool in front of you with the injured leg on top of the stool.
  • Step up and down until you are fatigued.
  • You can even use the bottom stair for this exercise instead of a stool.

Swimming is also considered a good exercise for hyperextended knees.

Apart from injury, there could be a few other reasons for hyperextend knee. For example, there are some people who may have very strong quadriceps muscles, and the integrity of the joint itself may not be bad. Yet, they will have hyperextended knees because the hamstrings are very lose. This could happen because of wrong posture while standing or even jumping and not cushioning the fall by bending the knees. Any exercise that targets the hamstring will benefit here.

In cases where corrective surgery is required, the rehabilitation is very different. A physiotherapist will give detailed instructions on the exercises to be followed, and in many, cases there is a gradual increase in the pressure as well as speed of movement of the joint. If you have injured your knee, never try any of these exercises without consulting with your physiotherapist first. The knee is a very strong joint, but it is also a very delicate one. You may end up compounding the damage.

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