An active lifestyle is a great way to stay happy and healthy. However, sports and exercise can also lead to injury. The knee is particularly vulnerable when it comes to painful or disabling conditions that result from sports and exercise.  A Baker’s cyst is one of the possible consequences of a knee injury. This term ‘Baker’s cyst’ refers to a pocket of fluid that develops in the back of the knee. While typically not too painful, a the condition is usually uncomfortable.

Baker’s cysts are not caused by injury alone. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a type of autoimmune disease, can also cause this type of cyst. Rheumatoid arthritis appears more frequently in women than in men, and children can also get the disease.

Want to learn more about Baker’s cysts or schedule an appointment with a Los Angeles knee specialist? Contact us today to get started.

What Is a Baker’s Cyst?

Cysts are formed from joint fluid that collects in one of the small sacs of tissue behind the knee. When this happens, the sac fills with fluid and begins to bulge. This results in a cyst.

An injury to the knee area may cause fluid to collect. The cyst may also develop as a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks its own tissue, thus causing fluids to build up within the joint.

What Are the Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst?

Often a Baker’s cyst causes no pain. But when symptoms occur, they may include:

  • Tightness or stiffness behind the knee
  • Swelling behind the knee that may get worse when upright
  • Pain behind the knee and into the upper calf (often felt when bending or straightening the knee)

Sometimes the pocket of fluid behind the knee can tear open and drain into the tissue of the lower leg. This can cause swelling and redness in that part of the leg. If the cyst is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, joint inflammation may cause redness, warmth, swelling, and pain within the joint.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should have a doctor examine your knee.  An MRI might be used to see inside the knee and identify the problem.

How Is a Baker’s Cyst Treated?

A Baker’s cyst may go away on its own. If the Baker’s cyst is caused by arthritis and you are treated for this condition, the pain and swelling of the cyst could go away.

If a cyst persists or causes a lot of pain, the fluid can be drained with a needle by your doctor. You could also be given a steroid to reduce swelling. Once treated, you might need to use a cane or crutch for better mobility. The knee might also be wrapped in a protective bandage. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove a Baker’s cyst.

Some pain management techniques you can use at home include:

  • Rest the knee frequently
  • Reduce pain and swelling with over-the-counter painkillers
  • Refrain from weight-bearing activities
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid extra strain on the knee

Contact a Baker’s Cyst Expert

The experts at the Knee Surgery Center of Excellence specialize in treating a broad variety of knee conditions. If you’re tired of living with knee pain in Los Angeles, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach us online or call 888.429.6865. We look forward to hearing from you!

Next, read about rehabilitation after knee surgery.