Information about a Baker’s Cyst
Baker’s cyst was named after the surgeon who first described this condition, Dr. William Morrant Baker. The other common name for a Baker’s cyst is the “Popliteal cyst.” A Baker’s cyst or popliteal cyst is diagnosed when there is swelling present in the synovial lining of semimembranosus bursa or one of the other bursae in back of your knee. However, a Baker’s cyst is not a real cyst as it maintains communication with the synovial sac of the knee joint.
A Baker’s cyst is a benign swelling. In other words, they are not dangerous. But, they can cause varying degrees of tenderness, pain, and swelling. The pain from a Baker’s cyst can be localized at the back of your knee, or run down the leg (Calves). Let’s take a closer look at the knee joint, synovial membrane and bursae to understand the cause of a popliteal cyst (Baker’s cyst).
Synovial Membrane, Synovial Fluids and Bursae and Their Impact on the Baker’s Cyst
Joints are encapsulated with a synovial membrane containing synovial fluids. The synovial fluids provide lubrication (feeds the joint) and protection by absorbing shocks. For example, the synovial fluids protect the knee from continuous impact while running. The hyaluronic acid, lubricin, protenases, and collagenases of synovial fluids provide the protection and lubrication. Also, these compounds are essential ingredients for repair of damaged, stressed, and irritated tissues of a joint. Injury or repetitive traumatic episodes of a weak, degenerated or arthritic knee can quickly lead to an inflamed synovial membrane of the semimembranosus bursa (Baker’s cyst).
Every joint in the body has bursae, which is the plural term for bursa. A bursa is a thin sac, filled with small amounts of fluids to protect opposing surfaces from injury or irritation. The lining of each bursa contains synovial fluids. Therefore, the clinical importance of synovial fluids, bursa, and the synovial membrane is vital to successful clinical outcomes. There are two types of bursae, communicating and non-communicating. The communicating bursae are those situated next to or near to a joint. A communicating bursa continually receives synovial fluids from the nearby joint through the synovial sac. The semimembranosus bursa is a communicating bursa.
Preexisting knee issues such as arthritis, meniscal tears, and degenerations are conditions that can lead to the overproduction of synovial fluids. Communicating bursa such as the semimembranosus bursa is prone to be excessively filled with synovial fluids, leading to Baker’s cyst.
What are the Common Sings and Symptoms of Baker’s Cyst?
The Popliteal cyst or Baker’s cyst occur in conjunction with other knee joint problems, such as a tear in the cartilage, ACL tears, PCL tears, meniscal tears, and arthritis. The primary reason behind the Baker’s cyst is damage or irritation to weak or damaged knee joint. However, it can occur without a pre-existing knee condition, especially when subject to an acute traumatic event, such as those experienced in vigorous activities similar to sports injuries. There may be times in which a Baker’s cyst does not result in knee pain, and you may not even know you have it. If signs and symptoms are problematic, however, they could include the following:
- A lump or swelling located behind the knee
- Locking of the knee joint
- Clicking or buckling of the knee
- Pain in legs or knee or discomfort when standing for extended periods
- Stiffness and a difficulty in flexing the knee fully
- Knee pain and leg pain
The most common symptoms of a Baker’s cyst are swelling and discomfort, but they are often relieved with proper treatment the underlying problem. Complications occur when the Baker’s cyst ruptures or bursts. Yes, a Baker’s cyst can burst or rupture when you neglect your knees or if you do not limit the aggravating activities. A ruptured Baker’s cyst can cause significant pain of sharp quality in which the back of the knee joint becomes red or feel as though water is running down the back of your leg (calf).
Can Surgery Repair a Baker’s Cyst?
Earlier we mentioned that Baker’s cyst is the result of damage or irritation of an excising knee condition. In other words, the knees were bad, to begin with, and an injury aggravated the joint to a point where the joint produced an excessive amount of synovial fluids. Surgery or other invasive methods such as aspiration of the synovial fluids or cortisone injections are useless in the long-term. In other words, surgery, aspiration of fluids or injections into the knees will not fix the root cause of the Baker’s cyst. And as such, most sufferers are subjected to repeated invasive procedures with no end in sight.
The best advice we can provide is to visit our office and discover clinical non-surgical treatment of knees and Baker’s cyst that targeted the root-cause. Our clinical teams of chiropractors and physiotherapist have the skills, expertise, and experience to accurately diagnose a Baker’s cyst as well as the root-causes. The only way to be free of a Baker’s cyst is a thorough clinical non-invasive treatment program that targeted the cyst and all its associated disorders. To summarize, avoid surgery and injections. They don’t help!
What is the BEST Treatment for a Baker’s Cyst?
It is probably not surgery or injections – if you are told that a cortisone injection or a Baker’s cyst surgery can fix you, get away from them fast. Contrary to conventional belief, a Baker’s cyst will not entirely go away without targeted treatments. You may experience slight improvements if you avoid aggravating activates. But, you need to have the root-cause of a Baker’s cyst treated before it can fully recover. You can call our clinical team of physiotherapists and chiropractors, and they can offer therapy options to help with a Baker’s cyst and leg pain.