Baker’s Cyst


What is Baker’s Cyst?

A Baker’s Cyst (also known as popliteal cyst or a synovial cyst of the knee) is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge at the back of the knee. The fluid found in a Baker Cyst is synovial fluid, which is the natural lubricant in all joints. The problem occurs when there is an excess of this fluid. Excess fluid is pushed to the back of the knee and becomes trapped, forming a fluid-filled sac.


What causes it and who is affected?

Baker’s Cysts form in response to trauma or an inflammatory condition to the knee joint.  Most commonly caused in older patients by arthritis, gout, and age wear and tear. In younger patients, Baker’s Cysts are normally caused by cartilage or meniscus tears. All conditions that lead to Baker’s Cysts are conditions that produce a higher volume of synovial fluid.


What are the symptoms?

Baker’s Cysts start small and can initially go unnoticed. Unlike the name suggests, a cyst like structure may not be felt under the knee. As the cyst increases in size, tightness, stiffness, discomfort, and pain will present. Swelling and pain can become worse with prolonged activity.   

Rarely, the cyst will leak fluid into the calf and the inflammation of tissues can resemble vein thrombosis.


How is Baker’s Cyst diagnosed?

The patient’s family doctor can diagnose a Baker’s cyst through a physical exam and symptom descriptions. The family doctor may proceed with an ultrasound or MRI to confirm diagnosis.

If you suspect you may have a Baker’s Cyst, your family doctor should be your first point of contact.


What are potential treatments?

Initial treatment for a Baker’s Cyst will be provided by your family doctor. Some Baker’s Cysts will heal by applying ice packs, rest, the use of a compression bandage, and anti-inflammatory medication.

When home therapy does not relieve your symptoms, your doctor can refer you to Wilderman Medical Clinic.

We offer the following treatments for Baker’s Cyst:  

  • Ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration
  • Cortisone injections for reduction of inflammation
  • Prolotherapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections

 Other Treatment Options that you can consider:

  • Exercises
  • Physiotherapy

Please contact your primary care provider before initiating any home-treatment.


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