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Bakers Cyst: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Oct 18, 2023

Bakers Cyst: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

A fluid-filled growth behind the knee is known as a Baker cyst. It causes a bulge and tightness. A popliteal cyst, sometimes referred to as a Baker cyst, can occasionally pain. The sensation of pain may get worse when performing physical activity, fully straightening or bending the knee, or both.

A Baker cyst is often brought on by a problem with the knee joint, such as arthritis or cartilage damage. Both conditions may cause the knee to overproduce fluid.

Despite the risk of swelling and discomfort caused by a Baker cyst, treatment usually occurs by treating the underlying problem.

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What Are The Causes Of Baker's Cyst?

Any damage to your knee joint has the potential to cause a Baker cyst to form. The most common causes are various types of knee arthritis and accidents.

The following kinds of arthritis frequently cause Baker cysts:

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatic arthritis.
  • Gout.

As a result of damage from a knee injury, which can also cause knee swelling, a Baker cyst may form in your knee. Baker cysts can develop as a result of the following knee injuries:

  • (Repetitive strain injuries) Overuse injuries.
  • Meniscus tear.
  • Hyperextensions.
  • Sprains.
  • Dislocations.
  • Bone fractures.

There are several knee ligament-damaging injuries that can lead to Baker cysts, including:

  • ACL tears.
  • MCL tears.
  • LCL tears.
  • PCL tear.

Symptoms Of Baker's Cyst

A Baker cyst can be identified most easily by the protrusion that forms behind your knee. Additionally, typical indications of a Baker cyst include:

  • Knee pain
  • Stiffness.
  • The range of motion in your knee is limited, making it difficult for you to bend it fully.
  • Swelling in that region, particularly at the knee of your leg.

Even in people with no symptoms, Baker cysts can develop. If you have one, you might not even be aware of it until a doctor or other healthcare provider discovers it when examining your knees or looking for other knee-related issues or conditions.

The swelling and redness that are sometimes associated with blood clot symptoms can be caused by Baker cysts in your lower leg. It is crucial to treat a blood clot. Seek immediate medical assistance if you think you have a blood clot. If a blood clot or a Baker cyst is the cause of your symptoms, your doctor can check you to make the diagnosis.

Diagnosis Of Baker's Cyst

A Baker cyst is usually found during a physical examination. The symptoms of a Baker cyst are similar to those of more dangerous conditions such a blood clot, aneurysm, or tumor. Your healthcare provider could ask for imaging exams like:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray

Treatment Of Baker's Cyst

Sometimes a Baker cyst will go away on its own. It is frequently effective to treat moderate symptoms by avoiding situations that trigger them.

If the cyst is large and uncomfortable, you could need treatment.


Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, among others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others) are over-the-counter pain relievers that can decrease pain and inflammation.

A cortisone injection or other steroid injection can alleviate knee inflammation. This may lower the cyst's size and ease the pain, but it doesn't always stop the cyst from coming back.


 Gentle exercises that enhance range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the knee may help you feel better and maintain knee function.

Advising or other strategies

A needle could be used by your doctor to drain the cyst's fluid in order to reduce the cyst's size. Ultrasonography is routinely used to guide this operation, also known as needle aspiration.

Arthroscopy surgery may be used to treat a joint problem if it is what caused the cyst. If the torn cartilage is causing synovial fluid to build up in the knee as a result of the cartilage rip, the surgeon may choose to repair or remove it. The surgeon can simultaneously extract fluid from the cyst.

Surgery is occasionally required to remove the cyst. When other forms of therapy have failed to reduce the patient's discomfort or their capacity to move around or participate in other activities is still limited, this strategy is often adopted.

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Prevention Of Baker's Cyst

Maintaining good knee health is the best defense against a Baker cyst. when engaging in physical activity, such as sports:

  • Put on the necessary safety equipment.
  • Avoid "playing through the pain" if your knee hurts during or after physical activity.
  • Allow your body time to rest and recover after a strenuous exercise.
  • Stretch and warm up before engaging in any athletic activity or exercise.
  • Stretch and cool down following exercise.

You can reduce your risk of injury by following these general safety advice:

  • A cluttered home or workplace that could trip you or others should be avoided.
  • When gaining access to something at home, use the proper tools or equipment. Keep your weight off.
  • Use a walker or a cane.

What complications can arise from a Baker cyst?

The most frequent complication with a Baker cyst is rupturing (breaking). A Baker cyst develops when the sac surrounding the cyst ruptures due to overfilling or overpressure. It can rupture if fluid is forced into a thin, rubbery container under too much pressure, as can occur if a water balloon is accidentally filled too quickly.

Other indications of a burst Baker cyst in your lower leg and knee include:

  • Your leg or knee may be in terrible, stabbing pain.
  • Swelling in your calf and lower leg.
  • You might feel water trickling down your leg from the inside.
  • Injury to the nerves.
  • Compartment syndrome, which causes painful additional pressure on your muscles.

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