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Baker’s cyst: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Baker’s cyst, also called popliteal cyst synovial cyst, is a kind of fluid-filled lump that appears in the back of the knee as a result of swelling or inflammation of the knee that causes excessive production and accumulation of synovial fluid, which is known as joint effusion. This excess accumulated fluid that can lead to the formation of Baker’s cyst can be caused by injuries to the knee joint or by diseases that compromise the health of the knee, so for its treatment it will be essential to identify what the cause is. exact. Based on this, one type of treatment or another will be established, which can include from the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and changes in the performance of daily and physical activities to physiotherapy or a surgical procedure.symptoms and treatment of Baker’s cyst.

Causes of Baker’s cyst

Baker’s cyst is caused by swelling or inflammation in the knee , which occurs as a result of an increase in the fluid that is responsible for lubricating the knee joint, called synovial fluid. This situation can appear due to various factors or conditions, such as those listed below:

  • Wear of the articular cartilage.
  • Knee meniscus tear.
  • Injuries to the knee ligaments.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis , which are more common in older people.
  • Other problems that cause inflammation in the knee.

This cyst is like a fluid-filled capsule and appears as a lump that can be felt in the posterior area of ​​the knee, as it forms between the upper central end of the calf muscles and the seat of the flexor tendon.

Symptoms of Baker’s cyst

The symptoms of Baker’s cyst can include the following, although not all patients will have the same conditions or suffer them with the same intensity:

  • Palpable soft lump in the back area of ​​the knee.
  • Pain or discomfort in the back of the knee, especially when flexing the knee.
  • Sensation of compression or tightness in the back of the leg.
  • Limitation of movement of the knee joint.
  • In cases where the cyst breaks under the skin, this can cause more severe pain, swelling, and a bruise on the back of the knee and calf. When this happens, it will be important to perform a differential diagnosis with a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis, as this condition can also cause signs and symptoms very similar to these.

In addition, it is also convenient to point out that the degree of pain and inflammation associated with a Baker’s cyst will depend in each case on the level of physical activity of the patient, since the most active people will present more intense and strong discomfort.

Diagnosis of Baker’s cyst

First, the diagnosis of Baker’s cyst will include a study of the patient’s medical history of a physical examination of the posterior region of the knee to check for swelling and a soft mass can be felt in the area. In addition to this, medical tests and examinations such as the following may be carried out:

  • X – ray of the knee joint: although with this test the lump cannot be seen, it can be done to find out if you have arthritis in the knee, since this in many cases is one of the causes of the appearance of Baker’s cyst.
  • Magnetic resonance: through magnetic waves, it is possible to observe the soft structures of the knee and check the presence of the cyst.
  • Ultrasound test: this test determines whether the lump is liquid-filled or, on the contrary, solid.

Treatment for Baker’s cyst

In many cases, these types of fluid-filled lumps resolve spontaneously over time, but the exact time in which this will happen cannot be determined.

Typically, treatment for Baker’s cyst has the initial goal of reducing knee swelling and pain in the back of the knee. To do this, a conservative treatment is carried out that may include the consumption of some anti-inflammatory drugs , in addition to some measures such as those detailed below:

  • Rest and rest.
  • Avoid doing physical activities that put a strain on the knee.
  • Keep the affected leg elevated.
  • Local application of ice to reduce swelling or inflammation.

Baker’s cyst: physical therapy

In addition to the above, it can also be of great help for recovery and to relieve symptoms, start a physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment. This should mainly include the treatment of the muscles attached to the back of the knee, stretching exercises and mobilizations of the joint.

All this will be of great importance to reduce the pressure in the damaged area and in the nearby structures, improve the flexibility of the tissues and decongest the knee joint.

When should Baker’s cyst be operated on?

In those cases in which the Baker’s cyst does not respond to conservative treatment, becomes excessively large or causes severe symptoms, it can be removed by means of a surgical intervention in which a small incision is made in the knee. However, it is important to assess whether surgery will be helpful, as the cyst may reappear if the condition that is causing it is not treated or corrected.

Some of the recommendations and care that should be taken into account after undergoing surgery are the following:

  • Keep your knee elevated for days after surgery to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Return to daily tasks and physical activity when allowed by your doctor.
  • Avoid doing physical activities that stress the knee joint.
  • Take medications prescribed by the doctor to relieve symptoms.
  • Do not drive until 15 days after the operation.
  • Make follow-up appointments with your doctor a few days after surgery.
  • Go to the physiotherapist if the doctor recommends it.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Baker’s cyst: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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