Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Many times, no treatment is required and a Baker's cyst will disappear on its own.

If the cyst is very large and causes a lot of pain, your doctor may use 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.

Typically though, doctors treat the underlying cause rather than the Baker's cyst itself.

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 may stay swollen even if you're receiving arthritis treatment. You and your doctor may discuss surgery to remove the cyst if it doesn't resolve and it affects your joint movement. Baker's cyst removal may be an option for a cyst that repeatedly refills after you have it drained with a needle.

Aug. 01, 2012