8 Best Ways to Treat Baker’s Cyst

A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled lump or sac that forms behind your knee. Injuries to the knee or arthritis can cause this condition. Depending on the severity of the disease, you may not feel any symptoms, experience mild pain, or have severe pain. Surgery may be necessary in extreme cases, but your medical provider will usually treat a Baker’s cyst by treating its cause.

Sometimes a Baker’s cyst will disappear on its own; you can often control mild symptoms by avoiding movements that trigger them; however, if the cyst is large and causes pain, you may require treatment.

Kinesiology Tape

You can use kinesiological tape to aid in treating Baker’s cysts, tight hamstrings, and overextension. Because of the location of the swelling, you will need help from an individual trained in kinesiological taping, which has been proven to reduce inflammation. These techniques are often taught by physical therapists (PTs), athletic trainers (ATCs), or chiropractors.  

Oral Medications

It’s possible to reduce pain and inflammation with nonprescription pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.). In addition, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroid medicine to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

RICE MethodĀ 

Nonsurgical treatment options are usually the best to treat a Baker’s cyst. For decades, sports doctors and orthopedic surgeons have relied on RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, to reduce swelling from joint damage.

Physical Therapy

The natural reaction to any discomfort is to avoid movement altogether. However, attempting to rehabilitate on your own may be too overwhelming without guidance and encouragement from a third party. Baker’s cyst rehabilitation can help reduce the pain.

In 6-8 weeks, hamstring and quadriceps strengthening exercises, performed several times a day, could decrease pain. This regimen could include a range of motion exercises for the knee joint, increasing flexibility and motion, and hamstring and quadriceps strengthening exercises.

As muscle tightness in the hamstrings could also contribute to Baker’s cyst, a physical therapist can thoroughly examine if this is a precipitating factor.

Walking with a Crutch or Cane

The doctor may recommend using a walking aid while you heal or recover from a broken leg or foot, Baker’s cyst, or stroke. You can perform your daily activities more safely using crutches, canes, or walkers. These devices keep your weight off your injured or weak leg, assist with balance, and maintain your balance. Avoid any activities that cause pain. If walking is painful, use crutches to reduce pressure on your injured knee.

Compression BandagesĀ 

It is essential to limit swelling, as swelling can increase pain and slow healing. You can use a pair of soft compression bandages. Compression socks should extend to the thigh. Please do not use a knee-high version, as it may worsen swelling and pain. Avoid tight compression as it could cause tingling in the feet, legs, or toes.

Steroid injection or Cyst draining

Cortisone, a steroid medication, can be injected into the knee to reduce inflammation. Although it may lower the size of the cyst and relieve pain, it does not always prevent it from returning. It is generally considered that corticosteroid injections are the first line of treatment.

Acebes et al. found that intra-articular injections reduced the size of Baker’s cysts at four weeks, and injections directly into the cyst under ultrasound guidance were superior to injections into the joint space. With ultrasound-guided aspiration, fenestration, and corticosteroid injection, there was a significant reduction in pain and improved function.

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

An arthroscope (a tool with a camera on the end) will be inserted into your knee after your surgeon makes a small cut. This is also called knee scoping; doctors can use it to diagnose and correct knee damage. In addition to providing effective treatment for cysts and associated joint disorders, arthroscopic surgery can be used effectively.


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