A ligament tear as the result of hyperextending your knee can vary from partial to severe. Symptoms can be severe and interfere with future exercise, sports and even regular daily activities. Because of this, it is important to understand how hyperextension ligament tears of the knee can occur and how they are medically treated.
A variety of symptoms can accompany a ligament tear as the result of a hyperextended knee. You can experience pain on the inside of the knee, tenderness, bruising, inflammation, swelling along the joint, stiffness, limited range of motion and instability when trying to stand or walk. You may experience a tearing, pulling or popping sensation when the knee first becomes hyperextended.
You can hyperextend your knee if you place excessive force on the joint when it is in a straight position and it bends backward. This can occur in a fall, from a physical blow or during sports such as volleyball, gymnastics or basketball. Hyperextending the knee can tear the ligaments -- frequently the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL -- that support the knee, causing it to become dislocated from the bones and muscles that adjoin it.
Place ice against your knee for 20 minutes at a time every two to three hours for the first 72 hours following the injury to help ease inflammation and knee pain. Wear a knee brace to help immobilize the torn ligament and keep it from further tearing. Rest your knees and walk with crutches if you need to walk around. Elevate your knee above your heart while your ligament injury heals. Severe ligament tears can be surgically repaired by a physician. You may need physical therapy to help rebuild strength in your knee.
Do not ignore pain or injury after hyperextending your knee. Contact a doctor if you suspect a torn ligament. Multiple ligament tears in the knee can damage the nerves that supply blood to the muscles of your leg. If severe enough, this disruption in blood flow can lead to serious complications such as leg amputation. If surgery is needed to repair the ligament tear, you must wait approximately six months before returning to sports and exercise.