Learn the Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst and How to Treat It

Page content

Baker’s Cysts

A condition occurs when a pocket of fluid forms in a lump behind the knee called a Baker’s Cyst. These cysts are also known as popliteal cysts. The cysts can affect anyone at any age. In children, they are normally caused from the sac of fluid behind the knee called the bursa and the fluid sac that protects the knee called the synovial sac. When these two sacs connect a cyst can form. However, in adults a cyst may form from arthritis or a knee injury. These conditions can cause swelling in the knee that will push on the fluids in the knee to form the cyst.


Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst can be quite noticeable but luckily they rarely produce any pain. A common symptom of these cysts is swelling located behind the knee. This swelling may get worse the longer a person stands. The area behind the knee can often become stiff or feel tight. In some cases the sac of fluid behind the knee can tear open. This will cause the fluid to drain down into the tissues of the lower leg. If this occurs the leg can become red and swollen. If a cyst is present behind the knee, there can be pain in the calf of the leg or knee. The pain is usually felt when the leg is fully extended of bent.


A doctor can easily diagnose a cyst of the knee my performing a MRI. In many cases a cyst often resolves on its own without any treatment. However, some may not and there are multiple treatments that can resolve this condition. If the cyst is caused from arthritis, then the arthritis must be treated in order to treat the cyst.

In some cases when the cyst does not resolve on its own, a needle must be inserted into it in order to drain out the fluid. Sometimes a cane or crutches may need to be used to remove pressure from the area. Steroid medicines are sometimes injected into the swollen area to treat the cyst. In very rare cases, the cyst may need to be removed surgically.

Home Treatment

Home treatments can help a person cope with this condition. The main thing to help treat a cyst is to limit the use of the affected leg. To treat the knee at home, keep the leg straight for a few days, rested above the heart. This will reduce any swelling. After the leg has been rested for a few days, continue to limit the use of it and the leg should iced when it is not in motion.

Icing the leg can help reduce the swelling. This should be done in fifteen minute intervals. Over the counter pain relievers can also reduce the swelling and help with any pain. Reducing any weight can help the knee heal. This also includes loosing any excess weight. Using crutches, a walker, or a cane can help reduce weight on the knee.


“Baker’s Cyst” August 7, 2007 www.webmd.com