popliteal cyst

What is a Popliteal Cyst?

A Bakers cyst, otherwise known as a “popliteal cyst”, is a swelling of the popliteal bursa in the back of the knee.

bakers cyst

How does a popliteal cyst happen?

The cyst develops when excess  fluid accumulates within the knee joint capsule and tracks to the popliteal bursa. The swelling is often the result of osteoarthritis, mesiscus injuries, or other problems. There is often no history of trauma.

What are the symptoms of a popliteal cyst?

Patients present with soft swelling or fullness in the crease of the back of their knee. 

Are X-rays or other imaging needed?

X-rays or MRI are usually not necessary unless other pathology is suspected.  Ultrasound is a good option when other injuries are not suspected.  Baker's cysts may be associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

What is the best treatment for a Baker's cyst or popliteal cyst?

Since Baker’s cysts are generally a secondary symptom, treatment is most effective when directed toward the underlying problem such as arthritis or a meniscus tear.  

Baker's cysts require treatment only when symptomatic. 

Sometimes rest and leg elevation resolves the symptoms. 

Electrotherapy and ice may help ease discomfort. 

Stretching may be indicated for associated tight musculature in the leg.

Should I avoid any activities if I have a popliteal cyst?

Patients may need to avoid activities such as squatting, kneeling, heavy lifting, climbing, or running. 

Should I wear a brace or wrap?

Braces and wraps are of no benefit for the cyst and may compress the cyst causing increased pain.

What other treatments are available?

If necessary, the cyst can be aspirated to reduce its size, then injected with a steroid. Surgical excision is reserved for cysts that cause a great amount of discomfort to the patient. 

At Creekside Performance Center, we are highly trained to treat the popliteal cyst and the underlying cause of a popliteal cyst.  We are the only inter-disciplinary clinic in Sheboygan county that provides chiropractic, myofascial release, ART (Active Release Technique), massage therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, rehabilitative exercise, nutritional counseling, personal training, and golf performance training under one roof. Utilizing these different services, we can help patients and clients reach the best outcomes and the best versions of themselves.  Voted Best Chiropractor by the Sheboygan Press. 

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