Baker’s Cyst Pain

Baker’s Cyst

Baker’s (Popliteal) Cyst is a buildup of synovial fluid (fluid that lubricates the joint) behind the knee.

Bakers cyst pain
Bakers cyst pain

A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge and a feeling of tightness behind your knee. The cyst can form when joint-lubricating fluid fills a cushioning pouch (bursa) at the back of your knee.  The pain can get worse when you fully flex or extend your knee or whenever you’re active. 

How painful is a Baker’s Cyst?

A Baker’s cyst can sometimes burst (rupture), resulting in fluid leaking down into your calf. This can cause sharp pain, swelling and redness in your calf.

How painful is Baker’s cyst pain?

In some cases, a Baker’s cyst causes no pain, and you may not notice it. If you do have signs and symptoms, they might include: Swelling behind your knee, and sometimes in your leg. Comparing both knees will offer you insight as to if one is much larger than the other. It has been described as feeling like a water-filled balloon. 

It may cause mild discomfort or pain and tenderness at the posterior aspect of the knee. Baker’s cysts can produce neuropathy by direct pressure on the nerve, either gradually or suddenly. The most dramatic complication is acute rupture with the clinical presentation often called the pseudothrombophlebitis syndrome.

What causes a Baker’s Cyst to flare up?
A Baker’s cyst may occur as a result of an injury to the knee, such as a tear in a meniscus, or damage to the cartilage from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. These conditions may cause the synovial cells lining the knee joint to produce excess fluid. If your Baker’s cyst ruptures, you will most likely experience a sharp pain in your calf and you might feel a sensation similar to water running down the back of your leg. You might also see what appears to be a bruise on your inner ankle.

How painful is it to drain a Baker’s cyst?

Commonly patients do not report any pain during the procedure but you may feel slight pressure when the needle is inserted into the cyst. 

References-

Jeffrey L Jackson Patrick G O’MalleyKurt Kroenke 2003 Oct 7;139(7):575-88. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-7-200310070-00010. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14530229/
2015 Jul;7(4):359-65.  doi: 10.1177/1941738113520130. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26137182/ 
2014 Mar 14;65(6):264-70. doi: 10.4081/reumatismo.2013.715. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24705029/
2013 Aug;21(8):469-79. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-21-08-469. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23908253/