A Baker’s Cyst (also known as a Popliteal Cyst) is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge behind the knee. It is the result of a problem with the knee joint that causes the knee to produce too much synovial fluid (lubricating fluid the body produces to reduce friction in the joint), leading to the development of a cyst.
Symptoms include swelling of the area behind the knee, knee pain, and joint stiffness. Symptoms may initially be mild, and get worse after periods of activity or after standing for a length of time.
Common causes of a Baker’s Cyst include cartilage tears and arthritis. When these knee injuries occur, a Baker’s Cyst may occur, causing a feeling of pain or tightness behind the knee. Flexing or extending the knee during activity may cause the pain to worsen.
Many times, a Baker’s Cyst will disappear on its own without requiring treatment. However, if the cyst is very large or causing acute pain, medication (such as cortisone injection), fluid drainage (needle aspiration), or physical therapy may be necessary.
It is important to note that a Baker’s Cyst is caused by a separate, underlying issue which typically still requires attention and treatment. If a cartilage tear is causing the over-production of synovial fluid that created the Baker’s Cyst, surgery to remove or repair the torn cartilage may be recommended. If osteoarthritis is the cause, surgical removal of the cyst may be necessary if the cyst repeatedly fills after drainage has been performed.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy offer a non-surgical treatment option for the underlying conditions of a Baker’s Cyst including cartilage tears or osteoarthritis. PRP injection is a simple 30 minute outpatient procedure that uses the body’s own healing mechanisms to repair damaged soft tissue and stimulate cartilage regrowth. By healing the underlying issue from the inside out, excess synovial fluid will no longer be produced. This results in a more long-term, non-surgical treatment option for the underlying conditions of a Baker’s Cyst.