ABC Medical Center > Baker’s cyst

What is Baker’s cyst?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a common knee condition that consists of the formation of a bulge due to the accumulation of synovial fluid in the back of the knee, which causes pain, inflammation, and stiffness, especially when moving or flexing the joint.

Also called popliteal cyst, this condition is caused by joint disorders of the knee, such as osteoarthritis or cartilage injuries, which cause an overproduction of synovial fluid, which, when accumulated, causes the appearance of the cyst or popliteal bursa.

The most common causes of Baker’s cyst are inflammatory diseases or joint injuries, including: 

  • Torn menisci.
  • Torn anterior cruciate ligament.
  • Arthritis.
  • Infectious osteoarthritis.

Sometimes these cysts can disappear without treatment, but they usually require rest and drugs to fight inflammation, while surgery will be necessary in severe cases that do not respond to conservative therapy.

Signs and symptoms Baker’s cyst

  • Bulging and swelling at the back of the knee.
  • Sore knee.
  • Limited movement in the knee joint.
  • Numbness and stiffness.
  • Sensation of having the knee loaded.

It is difficult, but not impossible, for the cysts to rupture and the synovial fluid to spread to the calf area, causing intense redness, swelling, and pain, a condition that is sometimes confused with thrombosis, which is why it is important to see your doctor before the symptoms described, and thus avoid complications.

Diagnosis and treatment Baker’s cyst

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and your clinical history, they will perform a physical examination that will allow them to diagnose Baker’s cyst, although they will also request tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, and MRI, which will help rule out other more serious pathologies with similar signs.

The treatment goal is to remove the cyst and attack its cause, so you’ll be prescribed anti-inflammatories and physical therapy sessions that include cryotherapy, elastic bandages, crutches, and an exercise program to preserve movement and strength.

If the cyst is very large and bothersome, you will have an aspiration procedure to drain the fluid with a special needle.

When the cyst reappears after needle aspiration procedures, arthroscopic surgery will be necessary to repair the damage inside the knee that is causing the cyst to appear. }

Lastly, when there are nerve and vascular involvements, the best option is to completely remove the cyst through open surgery.

Recovery after surgery is not as fast (between five and six weeks) and it is necessary to follow a series of indications to prevent cyst recurrence, such as:

  • Change habits and activities to avoid forcing the joint and promote tissue healing.
  • Use of a knee brace to achieve immobilization of the knee.
  • Physiotherapy program that helps to recover joint mobility and strength.

At the Orthopedics and Traumatology Center, we seek to improve the lives of patients restricted or immobilized by musculoskeletal disorders or injuries. We specialize in the care of the locomotor system by integrating the latest medical, biological, and technological advances, in strict adherence to the highest international standards of patient care.


  • Reyes-Hernández JM, Rañon-Rodríguez R, Cruz-Guillen D, et al. Quiste de Baker en paciente pediátrico de 5 años. Rev Mex Ortop Ped. 2019;21(1-3):32-36.
  • Álvarez LA, Soto CSR, García LYC. Quiste de Baker. AMC. 2018;22(5):829-846.
  • Hofman-González F, Hernández-Díaz C, Solano-Ávila C, et al. Quiste de Baker gigante tratado con metrotrexato intralesional. Cir Cir. 2013;81(1):64-68.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.