Treating A Baker’s Cyst
Treatment will not usually be necessary if you have a Baker’s cyst that is not causing any symptoms.
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to reduce the swelling and relieve any pain. A knee support or an ice pack may also help. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack.
If you have an underlying condition that’s causing your cyst, it’s important that the condition is properly managed. The cyst may disappear when the condition causing it has been treated.
In some cases, it may be possible to drain the cyst. Surgery may also be needed to repair any significant damage around the knee joint.
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2021 Next review due: 04 October 2024
What Are The Causes Of A Popliteal Cyst
Synovial fluid is a clear liquid that normally circulates through the cavities in your knee joint. Sometimes the knee produces too much of this fluid. The increasing pressure forces the fluid to the back of the knee via a one-way valve, where it creates a bulge. This severe swelling of the knee causes a popliteal cyst to form.
The most common causes of a popliteal cyst are:
- damage to the knees cartilage
- arthritis of the knee
- rheumatoid arthritis
- other knee conditions that cause joint inflammation
Since the knee is a complicated joint, it can be injured easily. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons , about 10.4 million Americans saw their doctors about a knee problem in 2010, making it the most common reason for seeing an orthopedic specialist. Such injuries may cause the inflammation that leads to a popliteal cyst.
A blood clot can also cause bruising and swelling behind the knee and on the back of the calf. Its important that your doctor examines the swelling to determine if the cause is a cyst or a clot.
You may not feel any pain with a popliteal cyst. In some cases, you may not notice it at all. If you do experience symptoms, they might include:
- mild to severe pain
Lump Behind Knee Not Bakers Cyst So What Is It
I’ll try to keep this short. In November I started feeling some weakness in my left leg. I went to the doctor he did a general once over and said it was nothing. A few days later after getting out of the shower, I noticed swelling on the backside of my leg behind my knee. When feeling around, felt a small pea sized lump I head back to the doctor, get an ultrasound for suspected Baker’s cyst. They said it is not a Baker cyst and nothing showed up on the ultrasound so they sent me for an x-ray and that also came back negative. I kind of let the issue go and recently it has crept back into my mind because sometimes my leg will ache with full pain. The weakness has started to come back and I’m a little concerned that this may be something. Anyone experienced anything similar? Any thoughts on what this might be?? Would an ultrasound pick up anything of a concerning nature?
I’m a natural worry wart and over analyze everything.
0 likes, 27 replies
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bakers Cyst
Sometimes youll feel no pain at all, or only a slight pain with a Bakers cyst. You may only have knee pain from the initial damage that caused the Bakers cyst, but not the lump itself. Any strain can cause this lump or your knee to swell in size. When the knee or cyst swells, this can increase your pain and limit how much you can move your knee.
Symptoms of a Bakers cyst may include:
- A fluid-filled lump behind your knee.
- Limited range of motion and ability to bend your knee.
- Swelling of your knee and/or leg.
Sometimes, a Bakers cyst can cause swelling and redness in your lower leg that can be similar to the symptoms of a blood clot. A blood clot is an emergency situation. If you are ever in doubt, reach out to your healthcare provider right away. Your provider can check out your symptoms and determine if its a Bakers cyst or a blood clot.
How Is A Baker’s Cyst Diagnosed
A Baker’s cyst may be diagnosed using a number of different methods, including:
- physical examination of your knee
- taking your medical history to see if you have any conditions that may cause a Bakers cyst
- x-ray this wont show the cyst, but can show the presence of arthritis in the knee joint, which may be causing the problem
- shining a light through the cyst this can determine that the mass is filled with fluid
- ultrasound or magnetic imaging resonance .
How is a Baker’s cyst treated?
Baker’s cysts dont always need treatment as they can get better and disappear on their own.
If treatment is required, options can include:
- treating the underlying cause such as medication for arthritis or rest and ice for torn knee cartilage
- temporarily avoiding activities that aggravate your knee joint
- physiotherapy which may include heat or ice treatment and exercises and stretches to maintain the mobility and strength of your knee
- using crutches to take the weight off your knee
- cortisone injections to reduce inflammation
- draining the fluid by inserting a needle into the cyst
- surgery may be required to remove the cyst if all other treatments havent worked.
A conservative approach of watching and waiting is recommended with children, as the condition commonly subsides on its own without active treatment.
Most people with a Baker’s cyst will be able to continue going to work or school.
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Lump Behind Knee Bakers Cyst Meaning
A lump behind the knee also called bakers cyst or at times popliteal cyst. It is the swelling on the back of the knee caused by the build-up of fluid inside sacs called bursa between the two heads of the calf muscles. The symptoms are usually mild, except in rare situation when the cyst bursts or extends down into the calf muscles.
The entire knee joint is enclosed inside a tough capsule lined with a membrane and filled with a lubricating synovial fluid. An extra sacs known as bursa helps cushion the joint and help reduce the friction between tissues caused by movement. When the knee produces too much synovial fluid, the excess fluid causes the bursa behind the knee to expand and bulge. Common causes of Bakers cyst include arthritis, infection, torn knee cartilage and other knee injuries.
The cyst can vary in size from a very small cyst to a large cyst that is a number of centimeters across. Rarely, a Bakers cyst can develop behind both knees at the same time.
What Purpose Does This Bursae Serve
Determining whether or not the bursae is the source of pain is hard to do. Understanding that the bursae, or Bakers Cyst, is a friction eliminator and fluid collector helps guide us in treating it .
In a study performed in 1938 by Wilson, 26 out of 30 dissected knees had this bursae present. Out of 26 approximately 15 of the bursae had a valve between the bursae and the knee joint that allowed the flow of fluid from the knee joint into the bursae. I know what you are thinking. Can the bursae send fluid into the knee joint? As far as we know, it cannot. It is a one way valve .
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Lump Behind Knee Bakers Cyst
Lump behind the knee or bakers cyst also known as popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled swelling that develops at the back of your knee. It is cause when the tissue behind the knee joint becomes swollen and inflamed. The swelling and inflammation can cause:
- pain in the knee and calf
- a build-up of fluid around the knee
- occasional locking or clicking in the knee joint
However, sometimes a Bakers cyst may not cause any symptoms other than the fluid-filled swelling at the back of the knee.
In rare cases, a Bakers cyst can burst , resulting in fluid leaking down into your calf. This can cause sharp pain, swelling and redness in your calf.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hard Knee Lump
To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:
- What color is the bump?
- Do you feel pain when you touch the bump?
- Is your bump getting bigger?
- Is there anything on the surface of the bump?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
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What Do They Tend To Feel Like
It varies. Some people get pain or discomfort in the knee and calf area. Others find the swelling restricts their leg movement, particularly if the cyst becomes quite big. For many people, though, its essentially symptomless except for a noticeable lump. Bakers Cysts are relatively common. Theyre more prevalent in women and people 40+, but they affect younger people too.
Causes Of Bakers Cysts
Causes of a Baker’s cyst may include:
- Swelling in the knee. This happens when the fluid that lubricates your knee joint increases. When pressure builds up, fluid squeezes into the back of the knee and creates the cyst.
- Arthritis. People with all forms of arthritis often have Bakerâs cysts.
- Injury. A sports-related injury or other blow to the knee can cause A Baker’s cyst.
- Gout. This type of arthritis, which results from the buildup of uric acid in the blood, can lead to a Bakerâs cyst.
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What Are Effective Bakers Cyst Treatment Methods
Its important to have a Bakers cyst diagnosed by a physician, in order to rule out a more serious health issue like a blood clot.
Proper diagnosis will require a physical exam, a discussion about a persons medical history, and possibly x-rays, an MRI, or ultrasound so a physician can have a clear image of the knee and any associated damage.
A doctor will want to know when the symptoms first appeared, what activities trigger the pain, and if it is persistent or comes and goes, among other things.
Its possible that a small or discreet Bakers cyst will go away on its own, although a large one that causes pain should be treated to avoid getting bigger or rupturing.
Draining The Bakers Cyst Synovial Fluid
Sometimes draining the synovial fluid from the knee and cyst is necessary by inserting a needle and directing it to the proper area with the aid of ultrasound.
Its important to find the root cause of the fluid buildup to treat the underlying condition as well. If the knee experiences an injury such as a torn ligament, that injury will also need to be repaired so the knee heals properly.
If the initial injury is not corrected, the fluid might build up again and could cause the Bakers cyst to re-appear. When this happens it will need to be drained again.
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Will The Cyst Just Go Away In Time
The first thing anyone with a Bakers Cyst wants to know is whether it will go away by itself. The answer is: it might. Some naturally dissipate over time, particularly if we address the underlying cause. Sometimes the cyst bursts and this can cause discomfort, which spreads into the calf muscle. Thats why we usually recommend conservative treatment for the cyst itself. Simple painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can be helpful. Ice packs can sometimes reduce the swelling and discomfort. Nine times out 10, conservative is the way to go. This might mean waiting for six months or so to see how it develops.
Ask The Doctor: How Do You Treat A Baker’s Cyst
- By Celeste Robb-Nicholson, MD, Contributor
Q. I have a Baker’s cyst in my right knee. It has been drained twice and recurred. Are there any other treatments for it?
A. Your situation is fairly common. A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop in the popliteal space, the hollow at the back of the knee joint. It’s named for William Morrant Baker, a 19th-century surgeon who first described the condition. The cyst is filled with synovial fluid, a viscous material that lubricates the knee joint, reducing friction among the components of the joint and allowing the knee to flex and extend freely. There are several ways to treat a Baker’s cyst, but it will often recur if the underlying cause hasn’t been addressed.
A Baker’s cyst may occur as a result of an injury to the knee, such as a tear in a meniscus, or damage to the cartilage from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. These conditions may cause the synovial cells lining the knee joint to produce excess fluid. If the fluid bulges into the popliteal space, a cyst can develop . The excess fluid can also cause the whole knee to become swollen.
A Baker’s cyst forms when excess synovial fluid bulges into the hollow at the back of the knee joint.
If cyst is related to knee arthritis, doctors often do a cortisone injection into the knee to reduce inflammation. Sometimes, a Baker’s cyst needs to be drained by a doctor experienced in this procedure..
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What Are Possible Complications Of A Baker’s Cyst
The symptoms of a Bakers cyst are mild usually, however sometimes complications can develop, such as:
- the cyst continues to grow, causing your symptoms to worsen
- the cyst extends down into your calf muscles
- the cyst bursts, leaking fluid into the calf region, typically causing increased pain and bruising around the ankle.
If you experience any swelling or warmth in your calf, seek medical advice quickly.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between the complications of Bakers cyst and more serious problems such as a blood clot in the vein. So its better to be safe and get it checked out.
What Causes Swelling Behind The Knee
There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee. In most cases, back of knee swelling is caused by a build-up of fluid or an abnormal growth in the popliteal space the soft area at the back of the knee.
Here we look at five common causes of swelling behind the knee, the causes and symptoms of each, how to tell whether its something serious and the best ways to treat causes of swelling behind the knee.
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What Else Could It Be
There are a number of other conditions that can cause pain behind the knee without typically causing much, if any, back of knee swelling visit the back of knee pain section to find out loads more.
Alternatively, it may be that there is swelling all around the knee, not just at the back, in which case, visit the swollen kneesection.
Key Points About Baker Cysts
- A Baker cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms behind the knee. They usually don’t cause major problems.
- A Baker cyst is usually the result of some other problem with the knee. It may be caused by osteoarthritis or a tear of the knees cartilage.
- Many people with Baker cysts dont have any symptoms. You might have some pain behind the knee.
- Your healthcare provider will try to treat any underlying conditions. You may also need fluid removed from the knee joint space or the cyst.
- Surgery isn’t usually needed for a Baker cyst.
- In rare cases, a Baker cyst can rupture. This can cause serious complications. See your provider right away if your leg is red and swollen.
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What Is Behind Knee Lump
A swollen area or lump that can be felt behind your knee can be caused by several different conditions. The lump may create an unsightly appearance, limit knee flexibility, or generate discomfort. A Bakers cyst is a collection of synovial fluid that bulges out through the back of the knee joint and can be felt as a lump behind the knee. Knee injuries, arthritis, damage to the cartilage of the knee, and other problems can all result in the development of a Bakers cyst.
The majority of individuals with Bakers cyst experience no symptoms. The cyst may be found during radiologic imaging for other joint complaints.
A lump behind the knee may be painful or may not produce any other symptoms. In some cases, you may experience tenderness, warmth, difficulties with movement of your knee joint, or bleeding or bruising.
Other possible causes of a lump behind the knee include abscesses tumors of the skin, soft tissue, or bones bleeding or deformity of the joint accompanying a fracture or other injury to your knee.
A lump behind your knee may be associated with injury and may be accompanied by more serious injuries to the joint. Seek immediate medical care for serious symptoms, such as paralysis or inability to move a body part, loss of sensation, absent pulses in the feet, uncontrolled or heavy bleeding, or uncontrollable pain.
If your knee lump is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.