Hyperextension of the knees is not good. A basic way to look at our body is our bones hold us up and our muscles move us. The bones of the body are meant to stack one on top of the other in order for weight to transfer successfully through the joints from the head to the feet. All of the bones need to be aligned properly for the body to work as designed.
Hyperextension is the movement of a joint past its normal range of motion. In the case of the knees this means that the shin bones are pulled backwards into an obtuse angle with the foot. The body is designed for the shin to be at a right angle to the foot when standing.
If the knee joint hyperextends, it puts a great deal of strain on the ligaments at the back of the knee and the relationship of the shin and foot is thrown out of balance. It also affects the muscles above and below the knee joint—the hamstrings, the calves, and everything else in the area.
The bones of the upper and lower leg, the femur and tibia, should sit directly on top of one another. This is a crucial factor in the transfer of weight through the body when we are standing and even walking. When we move, the knee bends, which is normal, but what we don’t want is for the knee to move backwards, or straighten too much, into hyperextension.
Unfortunately almost everyone I work with tends towards a hyperextension of the knees when walking even if they don’t do it while standing.
A standard question that I ask clients in initial sessions is—what makes you go faster, long or short steps? The answer I get is invariably long steps, which is incorrect. More steps rather than longer steps will get us where we want to go in a more efficient manner.
And shorter steps help keep you from hyperextending. This is one of the foundation instructions in the CoreWalking Program. This simple tip and many others will help you avoid hyperextension of the knees and get your body moving through the core rather the extremities.