Self Treatments For Bakers Cysts In The Knee
Have you been told that you have a baker cyst, youre getting swelling behind the knee, you probably have had a history of knee arthritis and meniscus problems as well. If this is the case, most of the time, people are left hanging with what to do about their Bakers cyst. And theyre not really fully sure about how to get their meniscus problem or their knee arthritis problem under control.
At the very root all three of these problems Baker system and discuss problems in the Arthritis problems are cartilage related. And weve got tons of videos on our channel about knee cartilage problems. Well link a playlist to all our new videos here in the description below.
But in this video today, Im going to cover with you a few things that you need to know specifically about Bakers cyst so that you can begin to treat it yourself at home. Ive got another video that talks about how Bakers cyst develops and what the signs and symptoms are for Baker cysts in case youre not sure if youve got one, go check that out. Ive also got a link in the description here below.
My name is Dr. David Middaugh. And Im a specialist physical therapist at El Paso manual physical therapy. And this channel is focused on helping people stay healthy, active and mobile. while avoiding unnecessary surgeries, injections and medications. Please subscribe to our channel so that you dont miss any of the helpful videos that we upload to our channel every week.
Medical History And Physical Examination
Your doctor will take a full medical history and ask you to describe your symptoms. He or she will want to know if you have had a previous knee injury.
Your doctor will then perform a careful examination of your affected knee, comparing it to your normal knee. During the exam, he or she will look for:
- A clicking or popping noise when you bend your knee
- Joint stiffness and limited range of motion
Your doctor will also palpate the back of your knee where the cyst is located. Often, a cyst will become firm when the knee is fully extended and soft when the knee is bent.
Natural Remedies For Bakers Cyst Drain The Pain Away
Before you start getting any wrong ideas, Bakers cyst has got nothing to do with the bakery that you get scones from in the morning. The condition of Bakers cyst is characterized by the presence of a lump or tumor like structure in the popliteal space behind the knees. Given that it affects ones normal quality of life, adhering to the natural remedies for bakers cyst can provide with fruitful results.
The condition can be cured with the natural means the only thing to do is to be persistent with the treatment procedure. If you have been suffering from this condition for far too long, it is best suggested to opt for the treatment methods.
To help you gauge a better list of home treatment for bakers cyst, we have listed out everything that you need to know about the condition.
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A Secondary Baker’s Cyst
Sometimes a Baker’s cyst can develop if there is an underlying problem within the knee, such as arthritis or a tear in the meniscal cartilage that lines the inside of the knee joint. This type of Baker’s cyst is the most common. It is sometimes referred to as a secondary Baker’s cyst.
In a secondary Baker’s cyst, the underlying problem within the knee joint causes too much synovial fluid to be produced within the joint. As a result of this, the pressure inside the knee increases. This has the effect of stretching the joint capsule. The joint capsule bulges out into the back of the knee, forming the Baker’s cyst that is filled with synovial fluid.
What Is A Bakers Cyst
If you have ever felt that painful swollen lump behind your knee you likely know what a Bakers Cyst feels like.
It is usually about the size of a small egg. It gets pinched when you flex your knee to end range of motion and stretched when you straight your knee into full extension.
It is a common symptom before total knee replacement surgery however in a large percent of the population the cyst remains present after surgery but is no longer symptomatic.
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Treatment Options For Bakers Cyst
Most often, Bakers cyst does not require treatment and may disappear on its own. However, if the cyst is large and causes a lot of pain, the following treatments are recommended:
- Medications:Your doctor injects corticosteroid medications into your knee to reduce pain. However, this doesnt always prevent the recurrence of the cyst.
- Fluid drainage:Fluid from your knee is drained using a needle that is guided by ultrasound. Steroid injections sometimes follow fluid drainage to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Physiotherapy:Your doctor may suggest the application of ice and a compression wrap or crutches to help reduce the pain and swelling. He/she may also include strengthening and range-of-motion exercises for the muscles around the knee.
- Surgery: Your doctor may treat the underlying cause rather than the condition itself. If a cartilage tear is causing the over production of synovial fluid, surgery may be determined to repair the cartilage.
Depending on your condition, your doctor will determine the best treatment that will help alleviate your symptoms of Bakers cyst.
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you have a lump behind your knee that’s causing problems and does not clear up on its own. They’ll usually be able to diagnose a Baker’s cyst by examining the back of your knee and asking about your symptoms.
Your GP will ask you whether you have any associated health conditions, such as arthritis.
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The Surgical Treatment Of Complicated Bakers Or Popliteal Synovial Cysts Remains Controversial
There are not many treatment options for a complicated Bakers Cyst because the complicated Bakers Cyst is secondary to other knee problems. So we have people who come into our clinics, we ask them what type of treatments have you received? They tell us they received non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and when the initial doses did not provide relief, they received larger doses at a greater frequency. They were also instructed to ice and rest. These are the typical conservative care options that are explored before surgery. Once these treatments failed, then the surgical discussion started.
Again, the problem with cyst draining and surgical removal of the cyst is that neither of these approaches addresses the damage that is causing the cyst to form in the first place, whether it is the damage to the meniscus, damage to ligaments, damage to the cartilage. Further, surgery involving any joint, and especially the knee, is very invasive and prone to post-surgical problems.
Doctors reporting in the medical journal Sports Health wrote: Surgical excision of the Bakers cyst without treatment of any intra-articular lesions has been reported however, the results have been disappointing because of the high rate of recurrence. . . The high rate of recurrence is believed to be a result of the continued presence of intra-articular pathology and associated recurrent effusions.
Diagnosis Of Meniscal Cysts
A healthcare provider will ask you questions about:
- Knee pain
- Popping sounds
- Recent injuries or impact to the knee
This will help determine if you have a meniscal tear. A meniscal cyst can usually be palpated, which means a doctor can feel it.
Range of motion tests can confirm there are no torn pieces of cartilage in the joint.
There are a few tests doctors use to assess meniscal tears and other knee injuries. These include:
These are motion, weight-bearing, and pressure tests that can help doctors identify a tear. They can also help a doctor decide if the tear needs surgery.
Diagnosis may be confirmed by a magnetic resonance imaging scan or ultrasound.
An MRI is a test that creates images of your knee using a magnetic field and radio waves. An ultrasound creates images using sound waves.
These tests will help your doctor see both the cyst and the tear.
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Key Points About Baker Cysts
- A Baker cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms behind the knee. They usually don’t cause major problems.
- A Baker cyst is usually the result of some other problem with the knee. It may be caused by osteoarthritis or a tear of the knees cartilage.
- Many people with Baker cysts dont have any symptoms. You might have some pain behind the knee.
- Your healthcare provider will try to treat any underlying conditions. You may also need fluid removed from the knee joint space or the cyst.
- Surgery isn’t usually needed for a Baker cyst.
- In rare cases, a Baker cyst can rupture. This can cause serious complications. See your provider right away if your leg is red and swollen.
Even After Total Knee Replacement Bakers Cysts Remain
Doctors in Germany tested the widely held belief that recurring Bakers cyst will be cured after total knee replacement. Here are the surprising results they published in the Bone and Joint Journal .
- After one year, a Bakers cyst was still present in 85% of patients tested.
- Despite a reduction in associated Bakers cyst related symptoms from before surgery to after surgery . Of the patients who had reported Bakers cyst associated symptoms pre-operatively, still complained of such symptoms one year after surgery.
Bakers cysts had resolved in only a small number of patients one year after total knee replacement and symptoms from the cysts persisted in 31%.
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What Can You Do First Understand That The Problem Is Not The Bakers Cyst The Problem Is What Is Causing The Bakers Cyst
Most people with a Bakers Cyst understand that they have a lot of things going on in their knee. If you have a Bakers Cyst or worse, recurring Bakers Cyst, you probably have an MRI that shows degenerative changes in the knee, meniscus tears, and articular cartilage damage. Your knee pain specialist has likely discussed with you that your Bakers Cyst is a symptom of this degenerative damage, not the cause of it. Your doctor may tell you, I can keep draining the cyst as it becomes a problem for you, but we should look to address the problem of what is causing it so we can see if we can provide a long-term answer.
When you have knee instability, your knee is loose, wobbly, and painful. Your knee may give way or buckle or catch at any step. This is obviously not a normal condition and one your body tries to react to and correct. How does your body react? Swelling, lots of swelling. Your bodys natural response to knee looseness and instability is to swell up the knee with fluid. However, chronic knee swelling and synovial inflammation is not a normal situation either. Your knee cannot be in a constant state of inflammation.
The Pain Behind My Knee
We get many people calling and emailing our staff about their problems with Bakers Cysts. These people who contact us are usually not the this cyst just developed, people. They are the people who have had knee pain for quite some time and have been through all the conservative care options and are wondering why their doctor seems to be non-committal about recommending surgery for them to remove the problematic cyst. Does this sound like you? How about this story?
I had pain behind my knee slowly getting worse over time, about a year ago it got so that I had to visit the doctor. The doctor told me I have a Bakers Cyst. If I rest it, if I ice it up, if I take anti-inflammatories it will go away. Well, it didnt go away. I had to buy a knee brace to help me walk. Any amount of walking makes my knee hurt. I gave up going to the gym, the treadmill is something I can no longer do. I have been to a specialist, the recommendation there was for stronger anti-inflammatories and more resting. If that did not work then arthroscopic surgery, but even the surgery may not work and the cyst will come back. What can I do?
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Can There Be Complications If I Dont Treat A Bakers Cyst
Not all Bakers cysts are treated. You might feel that the pain is mild and leave it alone. The cyst might go away on its own if it isnt treated. However, there are other complications that can happen if a Bakers cyst is left untreated, including:
- The pain getting worse.
- The cyst increasing in size.
- The cyst bursting, causing bruising in the lower leg.
If the cyst doesnt go away, reach out to your healthcare provider. Its important to get the right diagnosis and make sure it is a Bakers cyst. This condition could be mistaken for something more serious like a tumor or artery aneurysm, which is a medical emergency.
A Primary Bakers Cyst
A Bakers cyst may develop just behind an otherwise healthy knee joint. This type of cyst is sometimes referred to as a primary or idiopathic Bakers cyst. It usually develops in younger people and in children.
It is thought that in this type of Bakers cyst there is a connection between the knee joint and the popliteal bursa behind the knee. This means that synovial fluid from inside the joint can pass into the popliteal bursa and a Bakers cyst can form.
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How Is A Bakers Cyst Treated
Treatment of a Bakers cyst usually starts with nonsurgical options. One time-honored method that sports doctors and orthopaedic surgeons have relied on for decades to soothe swelling from joint damage is the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Often, your healthcare provider will suggest that you start with a nonsurgical treatment of your Bakers cyst. These are generally things you can do at home and on your own that can improve your symptoms.
Nonsurgical treatment options can include the RICE method:
- Resting your leg whenever possible.
- Applying ice to your knee.
- Using compression wraps on your knee to decrease the amount of joint swelling.
- Elevating your knee while you are resting.
Other nonsurgical treatment options for a Bakers cyst can include:
- Taking an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight, which can help put less pressure on your joints.
- Avoiding activities that strain your knee. This includes avoiding high-impact sports like jogging.
- Using a crutch or cane when you walk.
- Getting a referral for physical therapy from your healthcare provider to help strengthen your knee and body.
Your healthcare provider may also give you a steroid injection. This involves cortisone being injected into your knee joint, which can reduce inflammation and pain.
Your provider might suggest a surgical option to you if:
- Your knee pain is severe.
- Youre unable to move your knee well .
When To See A Doctor
Even if a Bakers cyst is not causing symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Other conditions, including deep vein thrombosis, a dangerous blood clot, can mimic features of a Bakers cyst.
It is also important to see a doctor if:
- The cyst appears to be growing.
- The cyst becomes painful.
- Symptoms get worse.
- The cyst causes numbness in the knee or leg.
Pain or numbness can occur when cysts grow large enough to press on surrounding structures, damaging blood vessels or nerves.
Anyone interested in using exercise to ease pain and improve mobility should consult a doctor or physical therapist.
It is especially important to seek expert guidance before trying rigorous weight-bearing exercises.
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Treatment For Ruptured Bakers Cyst
The Bakers cyst usually does not need any treatment and it will disappear on its own. However, when the cyst bursts, you may need some self-care treatment for the pain.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs : These have antipyretic and analgesic effects. At higher dosages, NSAIDs also reduce the inflammation and swelling associated with cysts.
- Rest: To reduce knee irritation, you must rest your knee as much as possible. Your doctor or physical therapist can advise you as to how long you should rest, and may be able to recommend alternative exercises and activities.
- Icepacks: These decrease inflammations in the affected area. Be careful not to apply the ice directly to your skin.
- Crutches: Using crutches allows you to take any weight off the knee and walk without any pain.
If you are not getting any relief from these techniques, or if the swelling is especially painful or big, you may need additional treatment, such as:
A Primary Baker’s Cyst
A Baker’s cyst may develop just behind an otherwise healthy knee joint. This type of cyst is sometimes referred to as a primary or idiopathic Baker’s cyst. It usually develops in younger people and in children.
It is thought that in this type of Baker’s cyst there is a connection between the knee joint and the popliteal bursa behind the knee. This means that synovial fluid from inside the joint can pass into the popliteal bursa and a Baker’s cyst can form.
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Treating A Bakers Cyst Rupture
When a Bakers cyst ruptures, you may feel sharp pain and inflammation, but the fluid from the cyst should be reabsorbed by your body within a few weeks.
A healthcare professional may decide to drain a large cyst before it ruptures, but once it does, the primary treatment focuses on increasing your comfort and reducing pain or swelling.
In rare cases, you may experience complications from a ruptured cyst, like compartment syndrome.
Compartment syndrome develops when pressure increases in a muscle compartment. In the case of a Bakers cyst, inflammation and accumulated fluid can cause this pressure to rise. There are some nonsurgical options to treat compartment syndrome, but severe cases require surgery.