Strengthening Exercises for a Hyperextended Knee

Strengthening exercises for a hyperextended knee will help improve your leg stability.
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Knee injuries are no fun, leaving you sidelined from athletic activities or your usual workout routine. If you have injured yourself or if you want to avoid injury, then you can try a few hyperextended knee exercises and stretches to help build or rebuild strength.


It's important to note that any hyperextended knee exercises you do, as with any exercise or rehabilitation program, should be done under the guidance of a doctor or physical therapist, who can show you how to do the exercises correctly. This will ensure not only efficiency but also prevention of further injury.

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What Is a Hyperextended Knee?

Mayo Clinic explains that you sustain a hyperextended knee when the knee lands improperly (such as after jumping) and gets bent backward, damaging the ligaments, cartilage and other stabilizing structures. An especially bad hyperextension can even result in an injured anterior cruciate ligament (commonly known as your ACL). Penn Medicine adds that a hyperextended knee can also refer to an injury of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Read more: How to Strengthen Tendons and Ligaments

These injuries can be partial or complete tears or stretches. Knee injuries like hyperextensions are troubling because, depending on the severity, they could last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, according to Harvard Health Publishing. In some cases, such as severe injuries where the ligament is completely torn and the knee is unstable, a patient might require surgery.


However, Harvard Health Publishing notes, a mild or moderate injury can usually be treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and a rehabilitation program provided by a doctor or therapist. In fact, 80 percent of people with PCL injuries can fully recover with the help of a physical therapy program.

Hyperextended Knee Exercises

Although only a doctor or physical therapist can tell you the hyperextended knee exercises that are right for you and your specific situation, you can still learn plenty of stretches and exercises that will help you rebuild strength in your injured leg. Harvard Health Publishing mentions that strengthening the muscles that support the knee, especially the quadriceps, can be helpful in preventing injury.


The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers a general conditioning program for strength and flexibility. These exercises will help you absorb shock, restore range of motion and prevent injury. You should warm up with low-impact activities like walking or riding a bicycle and then do your stretches before moving on to your exercises. If you have any pain, don't ignore it — address it with your doctor or therapist.


Read more: 12 Exercises That Are Safe to Do With Knee Pain


Here's a sample of stretches and exercises the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends for working your quadriceps:

Move 1: Quadriceps Stretch

  1. Hold on to a wall or back of a chair to balance yourself.
  2. Bend your knee and lift your heel, grasp your ankle with your hand and pull it toward your butt.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Avoid arching or twisting your back.
  4. Repeat with your other leg.
  5. Do one set of two to three reps, four to five times per week.


Move 2: Half-Squat Strengthening Exercise

  1. 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.

  2. Lower your hips as if you're going to sit in a chair, keeping your chest lifted as you do.

  3. 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.

  4. As you become stronger, you can hold hand weights to challenge yourself further.

  5. Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.


Move 3: Leg Extensions Strengthening Exercise

  1. Sit on a chair or bench. With your thigh muscles flexed, straighten and raise your affected leg as high as you can until it is parallel with the floor.
  2. Squeeze your thigh muscle and hold the position for five seconds. Relax and then return your foot to the floor.
  3. Avoid swinging your leg or lifting it forcefully.
  4. Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.


Move 4: Straight-Leg Raises Strengthening Exercise

  1. Recline back on the floor with your elbows supporting your upper body.
  2. Bend the uninjured knee so the foot is flat on the floor, keeping your injured leg straight.
  3. Flex the thigh muscle of your injured leg and raise it about a half-foot to 10 inches.
  4. Hold for five seconds; then lower your leg back to the floor.
  5. Do three sets of 10 reps, four to five times per week.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.