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How to treat Baker’s cyst

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Baker’s cyst is a sac that is filled with fluid that develops behind the knee. It is characterized by tightness, stiffness and pain that become worse with movements of the knee. The build up of synovial fluid will result to swelling and form a cyst at the back of the knee when under pressure. The synovial fluid is the one that lubricates the knee joint. The cyst causes pain when bending or extending the knee.

Causes of Baker’s cyst

  • Arthritis of the knee
  • Damage to the cartilage of the knee or meniscus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    Take plenty of rest especially the affected knee with Baker’s cyst until the pain totally disappears.

  • Other conditions that cause inflammation of the joint


  • Limited range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Mild to severe pain
  • Swelling behind the calf and knee
  • Rupturing of the cyst
  • Bruising on the knee and calf
  • Sometimes the fluid behind the knee can tear and open and drain into the tissues of the lower leg and result to redness and swelling of the affected area.


  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected knee with Baker’s cyst until the pain totally disappears. Rest the knee for at least a day or two.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area immediately after the injury for at least 15-20 minutes at a time to lessen the inflammation, swelling and pain. Make the area warm before reapplying the ice pack again.
  • Use crutches, cane, walker and other devices that support and rest the knee. It is also needed when walking around.
  • Compress the affected knee to lessen the swelling and make the knee stable using an elastic bandage. Another alternative is using a brace or wraping the area using a piece of cloth. Avoid wrapping the area too tight to prevent problems with circulation.
  • Elevate the area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and promote flow of blood in the area. When lying down, raise the knee over a couple of pillows as high as possible if it does not cause pain. If there is difficulty raising the affected area, keep it at least parallel to the ground.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen the lessen the swelling and pain.
  • Perform regular gentle exercises with the help of a physical therapist to restore the range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the knee.


  • Lose weight if obese to prevent placing plenty of strain on the knee that can cause further damage and worsen the condition.
  • Avoid walking when suffering from Baker’s cyst
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