Knee pain should always be taken seriously, which is why proper education is extremely important. Today, we are going to cover a fairly common cause of knee pain, something called Baker’s Cysts. Specifically, we are going to cover the symptoms, how it is diagnosed and how to treat it. If you are currently suffering from knee pain, we strongly recommend that you keep reading.
What is a Baker’s Cyst?
A Baker’s Cyst is a growth on the back of your knee. It is filled with fluid, but often it appears to be tense or taut. They can be small and barely perceptible, or they can be large and prominent on the back of your knee. Sometimes it can cause stiffness and difficulty extending your knee all the way, and other times there are no noticeable effects.
There is no set cause for Baker’s Cyst, but often it comes from a sport’s injury. It occurs when the knee swells and excess fluid leaks to the back of the knee causing the cyst to form. Those with arthritis or osteoporosis will find that these may be common.
Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst
There are several symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst including the following common symptoms that most people will find present with a cyst:
- Swelling the knee (at the time of the cyst’s appearance or just so)
- Stiffness in the joint when extending the leg all the way
- Bruising on the knee and calf
- Knee pain
These common symptoms can vary in severity as well as the amount of time that they are present before/at/after the time of the cyst. While a Baker’s Cyst is not considered severe or dangerous, proper diagnosis and treatment is important to make sure that you can deal with the cyst in a timely manner as well as make sure that you can keep an eye out for any kind of complication.
With a cyst, complications are rare, but can occur. Common ones include severe pain from the cyst. This is caused by the swelling of the knee aggravating the cyst, and vice versa. It can often slow down the healing process, as well as increase the changes of a recurrence.
How to Diagnose Baker’s Cyst
Diagnosis of a Baker’s Cyst comes from doing a self-assessment or, ideally, going and seeing a medical professional. The process tends to follow something like this:
- Physical assessment of the cyst:The best method of diagnosis is for a doctor to take a look at the cyst hands-on. If you have had one before, then you can also check out the cyst yourself before going to see a medical professional. The general idea is that you self-assess yourself by probing and gently touching the back of your knee to check its form.
- Range of movement test:Another way to help diagnose a cyst is to conduct a range of movement test. This involves a doctor carefully moving and twist your leg and knee to see how it responds with the cyst in place. While this can be done at home, too, it’s recommended that you allow a doctor to do this test to make sure you don’t further aggravate the injury.
- MRI or ultrasound:If needed, an ultrasound or MRI can be done to make sure that the cyst is there as a standalone thing and not related to something such as a tumor or other growth. This is common if you get a recurring growth without a common cause (such as a sport’s injury).
For those that get Baker’s Cysts a lot, the first two steps of this an often be done at home. Like anything, the more that you deal with an injury, the more that you are going to recognize when it’s just “run of the mill” and when it could potentially be more serious and require a professional opinion.
How to Treat Baker’s Cyst
Common treatment for Baker’s Cyst can be done from the comfort of your home without too much change in your day to day life and activities.
- Cold therapy – Putting ice on your knee and cyst can help with the inflammation which will, in turn, help with the recovery from the cyst’s appearance. Proper treatment with cold therapy is one of the best ways to treat it.
- Rest: When recovering from a cyst, resting the knee and allowing it time to heal is critical for your knee’s full recovery. If possible, keep the cyst above heart level and allow it plenty of time to recover without you trying to “work through the pain”.
- Fluid drainage – If the cyst is particularly large, or it’s causing knee pain in a moderate or severe way, a doctor may want to drain the fluid from it. This will relieve the pressure and will help with pain management and recovery down the road. The doctor will determine whether this is needed or not.
- Physical therapy – If it is severe enough, physical therapy may be helpful in promoting safe movement of the knee. It also helps to strengthen it, to make sure that you are not going to injure the area again. Or, help, at least.
Knee pain and Baker’s Cysts are never fun to live with, but proper treatment and understanding of why they are there can help with the recovery process both in the short and long term. Have you ever deal with Baker’s Cyst before? Were you successful in treating it? If so, how? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below before you go. Until next time!