[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A Baker’s cyst, frequently called a popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled sac forming behind the knee. Though these cysts are more common in adults, they can affect people of all ages and at varying degrees of pain. Despite research indicating that around 25% of patients with knee pain suffer from a Baker’s cyst, many adults are unaware of the condition and treatment options.

Baker’s cysts are a source of significant discomfort for many patients and should be addressed promptly. But what causes Baker’s cyst pain, and how can you treat this condition? To help you, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about Baker’s cyst pain, along with your treatment options at Carolina’s Pain Center.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”21177″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”21176″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

What is a Baker’s Cyst?

A Baker’s cyst is a cyst that forms on the back of the knee that appears as a bulge and causes feelings of tightness and pain. These cysts develop when the bursa, a cushioning pouch at the back of your knee, is filled with joint-lubricating fluids. The synovial fluid builds up over time, and pain worsens when flexing or extending your knee.

A Baker’s cyst ranges in size from small to large and, upon first appearance, might seem like mere swelling. However, without treatment, the cyst can grow and cause significant pain to the individual.

Causes of Baker’s Cyst Pain

There are a few potential causes that result in Baker’s cyst pain. The pain is typically related to a condition affecting the knee joint, leading to an influx of synovial fluid. While this fluid is necessary to help the leg swing smoothly and reduce friction in the knee, too much buildup of fluid will eventually lead to a cyst.

Some of the primary conditions that contribute to Baker’s cyst pain include the following:

  • Inflammation of the knee joint that occurs with knee arthritis
  • A cartilage tear in the knee, such as in the meniscus
  • Damage to the knee’s cartilage resulting from conditions like osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ligament tears to the knee
  • Gout
  • Infection

What are the Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst?

Not all knee pain is related to a Baker’s cyst, but specific indicators might raise concerns and indicate that this is the issue you’re dealing with. If you notice any of the following painful symptoms of a Baker’s cyst, it’s essential to consult help from the pain experts at Carolina’s Pain Center.

  • Knee stiffness
  • Swelling in your knee and/or leg
  • Difficulty moving your leg and a limited range of motion when bending your knee
  • A noticeable lump behind your knee that feels like a water-filled balloon
  • Redness in your lower leg
  • One knee appears larger than the other

While these are all indicators of a possible Baker’s cyst, it’s important to note that not all people with a Baker’s cyst will experience feelings of pain or discomfort. Therefore, if you aren’t experiencing any painful symptoms but still notice signs like swelling or a lump behind your knee, you should still seek advice from a professional pain specialist.

The symptoms caused by a Baker’s cyst sometimes cause swelling and redness that resembles a blood clot. If you notice some of these symptoms and aren’t sure which you’re dealing with, seek help from your provider immediately, as blood clots indicate an emergency.

How to Manage Baker’s Cyst Pain

While you should always consult a pain specialist to fully treat Baker’s cyst pain, there are a few more minor ways to ease your discomfort before your appointment. Depending on the underlying cause, some methods may be more effective.

Let’s break down medicinal and non-medicinal remedies to manage Baker’s cyst pain and get your life back on track.

Pain Medicine

Depending on the severity of your condition, some pain medicine may help treat the swelling and discomfort caused by a Baker’s cyst. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, are helpful to ease your pain before seeing a pain specialist. Additionally, ingredients such as naproxen sodium, found in over-the-counter medicines like Aleve, can reduce pain if taken in the proper doses according to the packaging.

Some patients opt for corticosteroid medication injections into the affected area to manage swelling and inflammation. A pain specialist should only conduct this process. Your specialist may prescribe certain antibiotics and pain medications you should take according to their guidelines.

Non-Drug Related Treatment

Some self-care solutions to temporarily relieve pain caused by a Baker’s cyst effectively treat the condition or even solve it entirely. Among the helpful non-drug related treatment options are the following:

  • Wear a knee support
  • Apply an ice or cold pack to the cyst to reduce swelling and pain. Consider alternating between ice and heat.
  • Carefully massage the area surrounding the cyst to reduce inflammation
  • Stay off your feet and rest your knee as much as possible
  • Use crutches or other support when walking
  • Keep your leg elevated and raised about your heart level whenever possible
  • Consult a physical therapist
  • Practice gentle exercises to improve your range of motion
  • Seek help from the pain specialists at Carolina’s Pain Center.

Type of Pain

Depending on the condition of your Baker’s cyst, you will experience varying degrees of pain. If the cyst is relatively minor, you might not feel any pain or discomfort; however, pain levels typically increase as the cyst becomes more severe and grows. If the cyst ruptures, the pain level will likely worsen.

If the cyst breaks open, you’ll typically encounter pain, bruising, redness, and swelling on your leg, specifically on the back of the knee and calf. Sharp pain around your knee and lower leg is common when dealing with a Baker’s cyst rupture.

Why Carolina’s Pain Center?

The pain specialists at Carolina’s Pain Center are essential for individuals in the Charlotte and Huntersville area experiencing chronic pain. Our pain specialists can drain your Baker’s cyst safely and efficiently with minimum pain during the procedure.

At Carolina’s Pain Center, all patients receive an individualized and multidisciplinary approach to their care to ensure that treatment is tailored to them and their well-being. Our personalized approach and experience in managing all chronic pain make us the top choice for adults seeking pain specialists in North Carolina.

Our seamless appointment process will help you get the comfort you deserve and restore your quality of life so that you can get up and move again. Contact us today by giving us a call or submitting an appointment request form, and start your journey back to the way things used to be.

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 Additional Lower Extremity Information 

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References-

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Christopher W Bunt Christopher E Jonas Jennifer G Chang 2018 Nov 1;98(9):576-585. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30325638/
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/

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