What Causes Baker’s Cysts and How To Treat It

The knee is one of the largest joints in our body and it is complex in structure. Our knees contain thick liquid located between the joints that allow free movement. When the knees produce excess fluid, it can cause bulging at the back of the knee and could result in pain and discomfort. This condition is called Baker’s Cyst,which is a common knee injury for runners.

Baker’s Cysts are lumps that form behind the knee and are also called popliteal cysts or synovial cysts. This can be caused by a number of things such as injuries or even arthritis. Our knees contain popliteal bursa which are sacs of synovial fluid that helps our legs move and bend easily. The sacs cushion the joint to help reduce friction . Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for Baker’s Cyst:

Read: Other types of knee pain from from running

Baker’s Cyst Causes

The condition involves swelling in the knee area from joint damage and other causes such as:

  • Injuries like a meniscus tear or ligament tear
  • Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Infection causing fluid build-up
  • Gout
  • Unknown causes as it is possible to develop Baker’s Cyst with no reason

Baker’s Cyst Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the build up, feelings of pain may vary. Pain may stem from the strain which then causes the lump to grow in size,  increases discomfort and restricts movement. 

Symptoms of Baker’s Cyst may involve:

  • Pain and Discomfort
  • Lump filled with synovial fluid at the back of the knee
  • Stiffness in the area
  • Difficulty in moving and bending the knee
  • Swelling

Other complications that need medical attention include continuous growth of the lump or extending pain and bruising in the lower part of the knee. Swelling can also be a sign of blood clots. If you are unsure, and experience other symptoms, it is best to get checked by medical professionals.

Baker’s Cysts Diagnosis

Medical exams are required to diagnose Baker’s Cyst. Several tests may be done to rule out other conditions.  It is best to observe and take note of symptoms to inform your doctor.

You may take note of these details in preparation for your appointment:

  • When the pain started
  • Which activities cause pain and discomfort
  • Severity of pain 
  • Daily activities
  • Methods done to deal with the pain (i.e medication, home remedies, treatments)

With these details, your healthcare provider can conduct several tests including:

  • X-rays to determine if you have arthritis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) uses magnetic waves to show detailed images inside the body
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to see if the lump is filled with fluid or if it is solid

Baker’s Cysts Treatments

It is often recommended to start treating the condition with nonsurgical methods to minimise symptoms and pain.

Nonsurgical options are as follows:

  • RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation)
  • Taking medication / Cortisol Injections
  • Wearing Knee Braces such as Bauerfeind’s Genutrain P3 Knee Brace
  • Weight Management
  • Low-impact activities

Genutrain P3 Knee Brace




It is rare to use surgery as a treatment for Baker’s Cysts. However, it may be recommended depending on the severity of the pain and mobility. .

Surgical options may include:

  • Cyst Fluid Draining
  • Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
  • Knee Osteotomy

Recovery and Prevention from Baker’s Cysts

The period of recovery may be different for every person based on the case and if surgery was conducted.  It is important to listen to your body and rest when needed. Doctors often recommend straying away from high-impact activities and workouts, elevating the knee, following treatment plans and taking prescribed medication.

Baker’s Cysts can be prevented with several ways including

- Wearing the proper footwear, using insoles 

- Warming up before exercising

- Using compression with knee braces which helps improve joint perception, and helps prevent mechanical stress on the joints

Get Bauerfeind’s world-class knee supports recommended by physicians from all over the world! For more information and assistance, you may book a free video consultation , live chat, or email us at info@bauerfeind.com.au


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