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  • Writer's pictureAJ Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

Knee Hyperextensions In The NFL: A Travis Kelce Concern

Travis Kelce is widely regarded as one of the best Tight Ends in the NFL and recently, reports have surfaced suggesting that he hyperextended his knee during practice. What does this mean for him, and your fantasy football team?

In the high-stakes world of the NFL, players face immense physical demands and pressure to perform at their best. One common issue that can affect NFL athletes, as well as athletes in other sports, is knee hyperextension. This condition, often referred to as "genu recurvatum," can have a significant impact on a player's career. In this blog, we'll explore knee hyperextensions in the context of the NFL, including their causes, effects on performance, and how physical therapy plays a vital role in managing and preventing this condition.

Understanding Knee Hyperextensions:

Knee hyperextension occurs when the knee joint extends beyond its normal range of motion, causing the knee to bend backward. In the NFL, this can happen due to various factors:

1. Muscle Imbalances: Weakness in the quadriceps muscles or tightness in the hamstrings can contribute to knee hyperextensions.

2. Ligament Laxity: Insufficient ligament support around the knee joint can lead to hyperextension, increasing the risk of injury.

3. Previous Injuries: NFL players often have a history of knee injuries, making them more susceptible to hyperextensions.

Effects on Performance:

For NFL athletes, knee hyperextensions can have several detrimental effects on their performance and career:

1. Reduced Agility: Hyperextensions can limit a player's ability to pivot, change direction, and perform quick movements on the field.

2. Pain and Discomfort: Players with knee hyperextensions may experience chronic pain and discomfort, impacting their ability to play at their best.

3. Increased Risk of Injuries: Hyperextended knees are more vulnerable to ligament sprains, tears, and other injuries, potentially leading to lengthy recovery periods and time off the field.

The Role of Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy is a critical component of managing and preventing knee hyperextensions in NFL players:

1. Assessment: Physical therapists assess the player's knee function, range of motion, strength, and flexibility to identify the severity of hyperextension and contributing factors.

2. Strength Training: Targeted strength training programs are designed to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles to provide better support to the knee joint.

3. Stretching: Gentle stretching exercises for the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles can help improve flexibility and reduce hyperextension.

4. Balance and Proprioception: NFL athletes work on balance and proprioception exercises to improve joint stability, reducing the risk of hyperextension-related injuries.

5. Biomechanical Correction: Therapists work on correcting any faulty movement patterns that contribute to hyperextension, ensuring proper alignment and muscle activation during gameplay.

In-Season Maintenance:

During the NFL season, physical therapists work closely with players to manage and prevent knee hyperextensions. This may involve regular check-ups, maintenance exercises, and injury prevention strategies to keep athletes performing at their peak.

Knee hyperextensions are a significant concern for NFL athletes, but with the guidance of dedicated physical therapists, these issues can be managed and prevented. In the NFL, where every game counts, ensuring the health and stability of the knees is essential for a player's long and successful career. Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in achieving this balance between performance and injury prevention, allowing NFL athletes to excel on the field while safeguarding their future in the sport. In conclusion, if no other tissues were damaged during the hyperextension, and as long as he keeps up with his rehab every day, he has a very high chance to fully recover and continue being the dominant athlete he has been in the past.

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