Joint hyperextension can be very painful and can change the movement or the patient. When joints are hyperextended, chiropractic care can help.
What is Joint Hyperextension?
Joint hyperextension refers to when joints move beyond the normal range of motion, leading to an injury. Muscles and tendons can also be hyperextended.1 Hyperextension differs from the term “hypermobility”, which is also called “double jointed” or “loose joints”. Joint hypermobility syndrome is inherited, and it often requires no treatment. When hypermobility causes pain, it generally affects the fingers, hips, elbows, and knees. Many children have hypermobility, naturally.2 Diagnosis of hypermobility is assessed on a scale called the Beighton scores, which goes up to 9. Treatment includes physical therapy, activity modification, and pain relievers.3 Hyperextension, by contrast, is when a body part stretches beyond normal. Knees and elbows are commonly affected. Some injuries may betemporary, but others can be permanent.4 When a joint is “bent backwards”, it has a lot of stress. This may be from a movement that is voluntary, or it can be due to a trauma, fall, or accident.5 Symptoms can include severe pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, and feeling sore. The elbow, for example, which moves like a hinge, is supported by ligaments and muscles. A strong blow, or backwards force, such as from contact sports, can lead to a hyperextension.6
Traditional Treatments and Chiropractic Care for a
General care for hyperextension can include cold compresses, rest, physical therapy, and brace support. In the worst cases, surgery may be required.7 Sometimes injuries of hyperextension can heal themselves. RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and NSAIDs (such as naproxen) can help provide relief, alleviate inflammation, and ease pain. These are not the only remedies to the problem. Wearing a brace allows for graduated motion restoration, and physical therapy may be recommended during rehabilitation. Exercises for the elbow might include wrist flex, wrist extension, biceps contraction, and triceps contraction.8 Chiropractic care can help patients avoid medications and surgery and help to strengthen joints to prevent future injury. For example, in the case of a hyperextended knee, a chiropractor might recommend adjustments to the knee, sacroiliac, and ankle joints. “Soft tissue work” may be employed (i.e., SASTM technique, Graston Technique, or Active Release (ART)). Chiropractors may also involve Kinesiotaping, laser, and “guided stability work”.9 In the case of a hyperextended elbow, chiropractors may recommend ice to control inflammation, as well as interferential current and pulsed ultrasound, trigger point and cross-friction massage, joint manipulation, and they will assess the shoulders, hands, and wrists. Exercise, possibly with taping and bracing, may also be suggested. Exercises may include resistance training, free weights, and isometrics.11 Many DCs are specialists in athletic recovery and can be found through the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians.12
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