Knee Hyperextension

Control Your Mind to Heal Your Knee

The Basics

WHAT: Medically tested ways of combining mind console with physical exercises to heal the knee hyperextension. 

SOURCE: Natasha Freutek, Healthline, 18 September 2018; Medically reviewed by Peggy Pletcher, M.S., R.D., L.D., CDE

Ellie Herman, Pilates teacher, 21 November 2017

GREAT FOR: Pain Relief, Rehabilitation, Knee Pain, Knee Hyperextension


How can you help someone correct something that is basically a structural, genetic issue? Mind control.

Knee hyperextension occurs when the leg excessively straightens at the knee joint, putting stress on the knee structures and the back of the knee joint. A person with hyperextension of the knees needs to be conscious of how they stand and walk. They need to retrain what “straight” feels like and learn to not go to their “bony end-point”. They don’t get the pleasure of standing with a “locked out” knee. When the knee is locked it is very stable ligament-wise and it is easy to stand with little to no muscles needed. Keeping your knees “soft” takes some muscular work, including core work, and it is hard to remember.



Instability of the knee

After a hyperextension injury (happens when a joint is forced to move beyond its normal range of motion) you may notice instability while walking or difficulty standing on one leg.


A localized pain in the knee joint is expected after hyperextension. Pain can vary from mild to severe. Pain is described as a mild ache to a sharp pain in the back of the knee or pinching pain in front of the knee joint.\

Decreased mobility

You may have difficulty bending or straightening your leg following a hyperextension injury. This could be due to swelling around the knee, which can limit how far you can move it. 

Swelling and bruising

After an injury, you may notice immediate or delayed swelling and bruising of the knee and surrounding area. This can be mild or more severe, and it is your body’s way of responding to the injured tissues.

Strategies for Correcting Hyperextension of the Knees

Mental Training

Awareness needs to be brought to standing and walking with a little “sponginess in the knees.”

Physical Training – high knee exercise and knee pain explained

-Always correct pelvic misalignment first. Anterior Pelvic Tilt, Posterior Pelvic Tilt, and Hyperextension of the Hip Joint all can be a cause (or result) of hyperextension of the knee joint.

-Toe raises with soft knees. Have clients hold onto a bar or a wall for balance and have them soften their knees, bringing the tibia forward over the ankle joint. Do 10 toe raises, not allowing the head to go up and down, but rather the knees to go forward as toes rise up. Then try single-leg 10x on each side. After this exercise, have the client walk around. It brings great awareness to how the lower limb should be aligned over the ankle.

-When doing Footwork on the Reformer have clients stop before they are at their “bony endpoint.” Have them stay in their muscles and not go into full lockout. Putting a squishy ball between the knees can help feel the muscles at the end range. Have client squeeze ball while extending knee to feel the muscles stay engaged.

-Hamstrings on the Reformer. Lying prone on Long Box.

-Standing Ball squeeze. With foot pointed, holding onto barre or wall for balance. Strengthens Hamstrings and plantar flexors.

-Bridging with a neutral pelvis. Cueing client to send knees forward over ankle joint and pull heels toward the bottom at the top of the bridge. Strengthens Hamstrings.

Make sure you do the best exercises for knee pain as well as the one which will help you to strengthen the knee and you be able to walk and stand properly in the right posture.

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