Question

My daughter hyperextended her knee yesterday at school. Can this injury be serious?

Answer

A hyperextended knee occurs when the knee is bent backward, often as a result of landing wrong after a jump. A hyperextended knee can damage ligaments, cartilage and other stabilizing structures in the knee.

Young children have softer bones because they're still growing, so a hyperextended knee can result in a chip of bone being pulled away from the main bone when the ligaments stretch too far. In older children and adults, forceful hyperextension may tear one of the knee ligaments, particularly the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

If the knee injury is severe enough to cause swelling, pain or instability, see a doctor immediately. Even if the injury doesn't need surgical repair, physical therapy may be needed to help restore leg strength and stability.

Last Updated: 03-07-2018
FAQ-20058471
content provided by mayoclinic.com
© 1998-2020 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.