A Baker's cyst is a fluid-filled cyst in the popliteal fossa. It often forms as a result of chronic knee disease. A typical symptom is a usually palpable swelling in the popliteal fossa. Typically, a Baker's cyst can be treated conservatively with anti-inflammatory ointments. If the symptoms still do not diminish, an operation should be considered.
Knee damage as a cause
A Baker's cyst usually develops as a result of a chronic disease of the knee. These include meniscal damage or rheumatism. If there is damage or irritation in the area of the knee, the body tries to compensate for it by increasing the production of synovial fluid. This results in a higher internal pressure in the joint, which relaxes connective tissue in the environment and can form a fluid-filled cyst.
A Baker's cyst affects primarily middle-aged or older people. Occasionally, the symptoms can also occur in children.
Symptoms of a Baker cyst
A Baker's cyst is usually palpable. How strong the swelling is, among other things depends on the physical activity. The more active the person concerned is, the more pronounced the symptoms usually are.
Often sufferers also complain about movement restrictions in the knee. If the cyst presses on the surrounding nerve tracts and blood vessels, sensations in the feet can occur. If the cyst tears, pain in the knee becomes noticeable, which increases even further when pressure is applied.
Treat a Baker cyst
If a Baker's cyst does not cause discomfort, no treatment is usually needed. In case of complaints anti-inflammatory drugs with diclofenac or ibuprofen can be used. In rare cases, cortisone injections may also be administered. However, these are controversial due to possible side effects. If conservative therapy has no effect, the Baker's cyst can be surgically removed.
More important than the treatment of the Baker's cyst itself, however, is to treat the underlying cause. Otherwise, it can happen that the cyst occurs again and again. For example, if the cyst is the result of meniscal damage, it should be treated as well.