December 7, 2023


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Pain in the back of the knee in knee hyperextension

Hyperextended Knee: Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery

Hyperextension of the knee can lead to injuries that can cause pain in the back of the knees, or you can say posterior knee pain. A pressure that forces the knee joint to bend backward beyond its normal position can result in knee hyperextension, which can damage the ligaments (ACL & PCL), cartilage, and other parts of the knee.

Hyperextension of the knee is also known as knee hyperextension or genu recurvatum. Knee hyperextension injuries can be mild or severe and may require treatment ranging from rest to surgery.

Hyperextension of the knee

Basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics athletes are more likely to have knee hyperextension (genu recurvatum). This occurs when the knee absorbs an extreme force while the leg is straight. Knee hyperextension or genu recurvatum can also be caused by a fall, blow, or injury, such as experienced in a car accident. There may be swelling, bruising, and pain when trying to straighten your leg. A more severe injury can result in dislocation of your knee, instability, swelling, and tears of ligaments.

  • In sports like basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics, athletes are more likely to experience knee hyperextension. This is when the knee absorbs an extreme force while the leg is straight.
  • A fall or blow can also cause knee hyperextension.


Hyperextension can cause posterior knee pain. This is due to damage to your posterior cruciate ligament (or PCL), which is located at the back of your knee.

A torn PCL may be detached from the muscles and the bones in your knee and can cause knee instability.

Posterior knee pain can be caused by an injury to the knee’s popliteus tendon in the knee. This is especially seen in athletes who run (runners), particularly those who do downhill running.

Tears to your meniscus, a type of cartilage in your knee, can also lead to pain. Rotating or twisting your knee while the foot is still in place can cause meniscal tears.


Your doctor will first take into consideration of your symptoms. Next, they will perform a physical exam and run some tests to diagnose the condition. To recreate the conditions that are causing your pain, your doctor may move your knee. A knee examination checks the stability of your knee when pressure is applied. A doctor may order X-rays, or an MRI, or may perform a knee arthroscopy. This is a simple surgical, diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to view the inside of your knee.


The cause and severity of your posterior knee pain will determine the treatment. Your doctor might recommend strengthening exercises to treat a partial tear in your PCL or a mild meniscal tear. You may be advised to rest and ice a minor injury or to wear a brace to support your knee while it heals. A total PCL tear may require surgery. This could include repair or reconstruction of the ligament. To return to your normal knee use, you may need physical therapy.

Tips and Warnings

You might feel a popping sensation in your knee if hyperextension results in ligament tears or other injuries. If hyperextension causes pain in your knee, you should consult your doctor immediately. If your knee hyperextension injury has become severe, you should seek immediate medical attention. If your knee is unstable or dislocated, you should not place weight on it.