What is a Baker’s Cyst?

For those wondering what is a baker’s cyst, well, it can be defined as a swelling which can potentially form at the back of your knee. These fluid filled cysts usually cause a bulge accompanied with an awful feeling of tightness or pain behind the knee.

The pain typically increases if you attempt to stretch, flex or fully extend your knee. Baker’s cyst, commonly referred to as “popliteal cyst,” is usually the result of a problem with your knee joint, due to diseases such as arthritis or physical trauma such as cartilage tear.

Causes Of Baker’s Cysts

One of the common factors which may lead to the development of the baker’s cyst usually involves sports related injuries such as a blow to the knee or calf. Apart from these, here are a few other medical health related issues which may trigger this condition:

  • Osteoarthritis, usually cause by the wear and tear of the joints and cartilage.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gout.
what is a baker's cyst?

Image source mayoclinic.org

Recent studies have indicated that women are more likely than men to suffer from bakers cysts due to the fact that they are prone to develop osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis more than men as well.

It is also more common with individuals who are 40 years and above. This does not mean that the condition has an age limit because there are documented incidents where children as young as 8 years developed this cyst.

Baker’s cyst occurring in children often involves the bursa (a tiny sac of fluid located behind the knee). It may bond with the synovial sac thereby forming the cyst. In adults, arthritis is the leading cause of this condition.


  • Tightness/stiffness behind the affected knee.
  • Swelling around the knee.
  • Slight pain around the knee. It may at times spread over to the upper calf, particularly if you attempt to bend or straighten it.

Should you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable that you call up your doctor and book for an appointment. For diagnostic purposes, a simple examination involving imaging tests such as ultrasound will make it easy to properly diagnose the underlying condition so as to start off with the treatment regimen.

Treatment Options

In most cases, baker’s cysts usually don’t require any medical treatment, unless they are symptomatic that is. This is because it is rare for the symptoms to result from the cyst. Typically, other disorders are the ones responsible for the problem. As such, you may manage the symptoms through:

  • Medication brought at nearby pharmacies or at the hospital
  • Heating.
  • Offering support to the knee through bracing.
  • Cryotherapy.
  • Resting.
  • Performing specific exercise routines.
  • Ice to reduce the swelling as well as the pain.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Fluid drainage.

What is a Baker’s Cyst Video


Baker’s cyst usually gets better on its own and finally disappears over time. However, you need to know that it may occasionally stubbornly pop up after several months or years before it disappears forever.

In extreme cases where the cyst is very large and every other treatment method has failed, you may have to undergo a surgical operation so as to remove the cyst. The same surgery may also be used to treat any major tears in your muscles and cartilage.

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