Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Bakers Cyst's

Bakers Cyst's Treatment

A Baker's cyst is a cystic swelling occurring in the back of the knee. Baker's cysts may be asymptomatic early on. With further distention, more awareness and discomfort may be noted. This occurs with bending and straightening of the knee. The cyst is best seen when the patient is standing and is examined from behind. Any disease that affects the knee can lead to a Baker's cyst.

Causes of Bakers Cyst's

Baker's cyst is a fluid collection behind the knee. This cyst may be formed by the connection of a normal bursa (a normal lubricating fluid sac) with the knee joint. This type is more common in children. Some of the causes of Baker's cyst include:

  • Infection - local infection can cause fluid retention around the knee joint.
  • Injury - trauma or injury to the knee can cause an accumulation of fluid (effusion), which triggers Baker's cyst.
  • Arthritis - particularly rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee joint.
  • Torn cartilage - usually affecting the cartilages that bolster the knee joint on both sides.
  • Unknown causes - Baker's cysts can sometimes develop in children for no apparent reason.

Nearly one half of Baker's cysts are found in children, where they appear as painless masses behind the knee that are more obvious when the knee is fully extended. A large cyst may cause some discomfort or stiffness but generally has no symptoms. Baker's cysts usually disappear spontaneously, but the time in which they do so is variable.

Signs and symptoms of Bakers Cyst's

Baker's cysts may have no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they can include:

  • A pronounced soft lump or swelling on the back of the knee
  • The cyst may feel like a water-filled balloon
  • Restricted mobility of the joint
  • Persistent pain or aching
  • A sensation of tightness at the back of the knee when the leg is straightened.
  • Stiffness of the knee

Bakers Cyst's Diagnosis

A noninvasive imaging scan, such as an ultrasound or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, can help distinguish between a simple cyst and a tumor, which could be cancerous. If your doctor suspects a blood clot in your leg (deep vein thrombosis), he or she may suggest an ultrasound of your leg or other tests to exclude the possibility of a blood clot.

Treatment for Bakers Cyst's

Baker's cysts usually require no treatment unless they are symptomatic. Often rest and leg elevation are all that is needed. If necessary, the cyst can be aspirated to reduce its size, then injected with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. If the cyst is extremely large or painful it may be drained or surgically removed.

  • Aspiration: A Baker's cyst can be drained using a needle/syringe but usually recurs if the primary problem causing the Baker's cyst is still present.
  • Injection of corticosteroids: Cortisone (a powerful anti-inflammatory) may be injected to reduce the amount of fluid being produced. Again, this may only help temporarily.
  • Surgery: A Baker's cyst can be surgically removed if problems persist despite treatment of the condition that caused the Baker's cyst. Surgery is usually not necessary.

Tips on preventing and treating Bakers Cyst's

Knee joints are prone to injury during sporting activities. Preventing knee trauma can reduce the risk of Baker's cyst developing in the first place or recurring after treatment. Suggestions include:

  • Warm up the knee joints and soft tissue by gently going through the motions of your sport or activity and stretching the muscles.
  • Try to turn on the balls of your feet, rather than through your knees.
  • Wear supportive footwear appropriate to your activity.
  • Cool down after sport by performing gentle and sustained stretches.

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