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Baker's cyst – popliteal cyst

Baker's cyst is a swelled bursa (cyst) between m.gastrocnemius and m. semimebranosus, which is connected to knee joint through the back part of joint ball. This knee joint communication is often one-way and that is the reason why Baker's cyst fills up.

There are primary and secondary Baker's (popliteal) cysts.

Primary Baker's (popliteal) cysts develop near normal, healthy knee joint. They are present mostly in children, on both sides of the body.

Secondary Baker's (popliteal) cysts develop in adult life, always along pathological knee joint changes like knee injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, gonoarthrosis, patellofemoral syndrome erc. Baker's (popliteal) cyst can grow to the size of an apple, even more, and its size usually interferes with normal knee mobility. Sometimes vein blockage can occur, which leads to calf swelling.

Baker's (popliteal) cyst can sometimes elongate distally towards the calf. Occurrence of pain is connected to its size, location, and tension, but also to the knee joint problem which caused the cyst to fill up.

How to diagnose Baker (popliteal) cyst?

Diagnosing Baker's (popliteal) cyst includes clinical exam which establishes existence of a lump or bigger bump in popliteal hole. After that, diagnostic ultrasound can prove the existence and size of Baker's (popliteal) cyst. It is important not to misdiagnose it as popliteal aneurism or m.semimembranosus rupture. In case of rupture, swelling gets bigger when contracting knee flexors (hamstrings).

Treating Baker's (popliteal) cyst

Treating Baker's (popliteal) cyst involves invasive procedure of aspiring cyst contents, lessening its volume. It is vital to treat the primary problem because that way we can directly influence the prognosis of therapy.

Physical therapy procedures include ultrasound, lymph drainage, and lately also taping.

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