Baker’s Cyst

A baker’s cyst describes a fluid-filled bump that occurs at the back of the knee. Because it occurs in an area called the popliteal space, it is also known as a popliteal cyst.  

What causes a baker’s cyst?

Baker’s cysts occur when synovial fluid is forced out from the knee joint and into the back of the knee, producing a swollen cyst. This can occur due to:  

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a baker’s cysts can include:
  • Pain in the back of the knee
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness in the knee joint
As the cyst grows, it is also at risk of rupturing and leaking into the calves, causing pain and swelling in this region.  

How is it treated?

While a cyst may resolve it its own, treatment may be indicated if symptoms become very painful or begin disrupting your day to day life. The first step of management is to confirm the diagnosis of a cyst, as opposed to blood clots which can be very serious. Rest and ice your knee to help reduce swelling. It is possible to have cysts drained or take medications to help the cyst. After the pain is relieved, treatment focuses on addressing the cause to reduce the likelihood of it recurring in the future. This is assessed on a case by case basis and may involve reducing the symptoms and progression of knee arthritis to reduce swelling in the knees.