If you’ve ever had a major debilitating knee injury, then it’s quite possible that you may have had (or still
have) a popliteal cyst (Baker’s Cyst) that resulted from the injury. However, these cysts often go unnoticed. I rarely have patients report having pressure, feel a lump, or have tenderness at the back of their knee. However, to learn about a popliteal cyst, read the information below.
What is a Popliteal Cyst (Baker’s Cyst)?
● Most common disorder in the knee.
● A Fluid-filled cyst that forms at the back of the knee and often causes stiffness and discomfort.
● Results from a problem in the knee joint such as osteoarthritis (OA), knee sprains, meniscus tears, etc.
○ These types of injuries cause the joint to produce excessive fluid which leads to the formation of a cyst.
● Osteoarthritis (OA)
● Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
● Meniscus tear
● ACL tear
● Other damage to the tissue inside the joint
Signs and Symptoms
● Knee pain
● Follow up with your primary care physician or general practitioner for severe knee pain that is unrelieved by rest, ice, and NSAIDs.
○ He or she will examine your knee and order:
■ X Rays: to assess the bones for any fractures
■ Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): to reveal any tissue damage
■ If the damage is severe, then there is a high chance that the images may reveal a popliteal cyst forming at the back of the knee.
● A popliteal cyst can improve with nonsurgical treatment that includes changes in activity and NSAIDs.
● May resolve on their own, with or without treatment
● Steroid injections
● Aspiration (drainage)
● Arthroscopy (Surgery to remove the cyst)
Designua. (2022). [Illustration]. Baker’s cyst. fluid collection behind the knee. cross section of Human
joint. Flat vector diagram like x-ray illustration. https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/bakers-cyst-
Helfgott, S. (2022). Popliteal (Baker’s) cyst https://www.uptodate.com/contents/popliteal-bakers-cyst
Leib AD, Roshan A, Foris LA, et al. Baker’s Cyst. [Updated 2022 Jul 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet].
Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430774/?report=classic