Five Tips for Treating Hyperextension of the Knee after a Stroke

What is a Hyperextended Knee?

A hyperextension of the knee is when the knee is pushed too far back, resulting in the knee joint being excessively straightened. Hyperextensions can happen to anyone, of any age or gender, but are most common in athletes, especially females. This is because a hyperextension is normally caused by a high impact, direct blow to the area, (commonly knees) landing wrong after a jump or stopping short while running. Hyperextension injuries can result in moderate to severe pain, swelling and sometimes even ligament or tissue damage. But, did you know stroke patients can also suffer from a hyperextended knee? Read on for our five tips on how to treat a hyperextended knee after a stroke.

1.  Rest Up

Take it easy! Patients who have just suffered from a stroke should enjoy lots of time to rest and relax. If hyperextension occurred, take a break from any physical activity that could irritate or cause any further pain to your knee. Indulge in hot or cold compresses to manage any swelling or pain and try some anti-inflammatory medications that can further relieve these symptoms. Try not to add further stress to the affected joint.

2.  Rehabilitation

Millions of people suffer from strokes every year and sometimes the after effects can be debilitating. Some people may struggle with daily activities like walking, balance and even the ability to dress themselves. Rehabilitation is key in regaining your independence back after a stroke. It is not uncommon for stroke patients to suffer from a walking dysfunction caused by a hyperextension of the knee joint as a stroke impacts the nerves. Exercises and stretching techniques both help to improve balance and can make walking after a stroke easier. Your knees are crucial when it comes to walking and balance so regaining strength to your knee is essential. Exercising or rehabbing your knee with high repetition will be the most beneficial way to regain any lost motor skills after a stroke.

3.  Joint Angle Biofeedback Devices

Knee Joint Angle Biofeedback SensorOur portable nCounters Engineering devices are great tools on your journey towards recovery! With an easy setup, our biofeedback devices improve joint control and facilitate functional training. They help monitor the movements of your knee in real time and give you immediate feedback via headphones. Simply fasten the angle sensor over the affected knee, with the metal stays on either side of the joint. You then secure the sensor in position with the colored Velcro straps. The control unit is attached to the angle sensor by a cable and then you simply fasten the control unit with the included belt clip onto yourself! You now can receive audio feedback when your knee angle is outside the set limits, helping you to reach your treatment goals even faster!

 

4.  Elevation

If you’re suffering from a hyperextended knee, keep it elevated! Whenever you’re sitting or lying down, keep your knee elevated above your heart to reduce swelling. Try adding a pillow or cushion underneath while keeping the knee slightly bent. This keeps blood flowing and increases circulation. Doing calf raises in place or while walking can also be beneficial for your hyperextended knee. This stimulates muscle activity and pumps blood back to your heart.  

5.  Warm-up and Cool-down Exercises

There’s a number of warm up and cool down exercises that can be performed to help with the effects of a hyperextended knee. The goal of these exercises is to increase the range of motion and loosen up the muscles and joints before and after a more strenuous workout. Before exercising, begin by performing some hip rotations, lunges, squats and knee raises. This preps the joints and muscles and prevents any further pulls or tears that can occur. To cool down after your workout, try a light walk! Nothing crazy, just a nice leisurely stroll to cool the muscles and joints down. Leg stretches and pulls are both great cool down exercises that can help with a hyperextended knee.  

Peter Barrett

Peter Barrett

Director

Peter designs and builds biofeedback products for gait and movement in the orthopaedic and stroke rehabilitation spaces. These devices are programmed for ease of use with built in help touch screens. In all cases data is transferred wirelessly to ensure patient safety.They can store and display data in real time so as to monitor the patient’s overall progress.

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