Sometimes a Baker's cyst will disappear on its own. However, if the cyst is large and causes pain, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
- Medication. Your doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication, such as cortisone, into your knee to reduce inflammation. This may relieve pain, but it doesn't always prevent recurrence of the cyst.
- Fluid drainage. Your doctor may drain the fluid from the knee joint using a needle. This is called needle aspiration and is often performed under ultrasound guidance.
- Physical therapy. Icing, a compression wrap and crutches may help reduce pain and swelling. Gentle range-of-motion and strengthening exercises for the muscles around your knee also may help to reduce your symptoms and preserve knee function.
If possible, doctors treat the underlying cause of the cyst. If your doctor determines that a cartilage tear is causing the overproduction of synovial fluid, he or she may recommend surgery to remove or repair the torn cartilage.
Baker's cysts associated with osteoarthritis usually improve with treatment of the arthritis. Surgical intervention is rarely needed.
June 12, 2015
- Helfgott SM. Popliteal (Baker's) cyst. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Imboden JB, et al. Approach to the patient with knee pain. In: Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 27, 2015.
- Arthritis of the knee. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00212. Accessed April 27, 2015.