My Sanford Chart allows you secure online access to your personal health information and your child's health information. It's available anywhere you have internet access. There is no cost to you and registering is quick and simple.
A Baker's cyst is a pocket of fluid that forms a lump behind the knee. It is also called a popliteal cyst. See a picture of a Baker's cyst.
A Baker's cyst is caused when excess joint fluid is pushed into one of the small sacs of tissue behind the knee. When this sac fills with fluid and bulges out, it is called a cyst. The excess fluid is usually caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that irritate the knee. It may also be caused by an injury.
Often a Baker's cyst causes no pain. When symptoms occur, they may include:
Sometimes the pocket of fluid behind the knee can tear open and drain into the tissues of the lower leg. This can cause swelling and redness in that part of the leg.
Your doctor will examine your knee and ask you questions about your past health and when the pain and swelling started. Your doctor may order tests, such as an MRI, to see a picture of the inside of your knee.
A Baker's cyst may go away on its own.
If arthritis or another problem is causing the Baker's cyst, your doctor may treat that problem. This usually makes the pain and swelling of a Baker's cyst go away.
If a cyst does not go away, or if it is causing a lot of pain, your doctor may drain the fluid with a needle. You also may be given a shot of steroid medicine to reduce swelling. You may need to use a cane or crutch and wrap your knee in an elastic bandage. In rare cases, a Baker's cyst is removed by surgery.
There are things you can do at home to help you feel better.
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Popliteal cyst. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 716–718. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Hanada E, et al. (2008). Baker's cyst. In WR Frontera et al., eds., Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation, 2nd ed., pp. 315–317. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma|
|Last Revised||August 7, 2012|
Last Revised: August 7, 2012
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.