A Baker’s cyst, or popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled sac under the knee that causes tightness, pain, or stiffness in the knee that can be made worse with exercise and physical activity. The accumulation of synovial fluid (which lubricates the knee joint) causes swelling under pressure and the formation of a cyst at the back of the knee. The most important thing in treating a Baker’s cyst is rest and treating the possible cause of the problem, which could be arthritis, for example.
How to cure a cyst at home
Relax. You should give the affected knee adequate rest until your leg no longer hurts. Watch for pain around and behind your knee as you straighten your leg. You should rest your knee for as long as possible, at least two to three days.
Keep an eye on your knee and cyst. You should place an ice pack on your cystic knee. The ice will reduce swelling and inflammation around the wound, which will help relieve pain. Hold the ice on your knee for only fifteen to twenty minutes. Then wait for the feet to heat up to room temperature (15-20 minutes more) and apply ice. This will help reduce swelling and pain in the first few days after the injury. In the first two to three days after the injury, you can apply the cold compress as often as you like.
Wrap an ice pack (or anything frozen) in a towel and place the pack over your feet. Never put ice directly on your skin!
Use tiles. Firming compresses help you reduce swelling of the injured knee and stabilize the knee. Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage, gauze, or elastic clothing.
Hold your knees tight enough to stabilize yourself, but not tight enough to restrict circulation.
Lift your legs. If you elevate your leg, you will also remove the swelling and the blood will return to your heart. Lie down and raise your legs so they are above heart level (or as high as possible without hurting). If you can’t lift the injured leg, at least try to keep it parallel to the floor.
When you sleep, place a pillow under your feet so that you have a higher pillow.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. You can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or naproxen to reduce swelling and pain. Follow the dosage on the leaflet and stick to the recommended daily dose. Always take your medication with food and water.
Aspirin is not recommended for children and people under the age of 18 because it can cause dangerous Reye’s syndrome (liver and brain damage), especially if the child has chickenpox or the flu. If you want to give your child aspirin, talk to your doctor first.
Doctors recommend seeing your doctor for over-the-counter pain relievers if you have liver, kidney, or stomach problems.
Consult a doctor
See a doctor and evaluate your injury. You should see a doctor and find out the cause of your cyst. This could be a knee injury, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or cartilage or tendon damage.
If your cyst ruptures, see a doctor. Even if you have consulted your doctor for proper treatment, you should return to him if you experience a ruptured cyst or other complications. When a Baker’s cyst ruptures, fluid leaks into your calf, which can cause:
Feeling like water running down calves
redness and swelling
Sharp pain due to fluid leakage and subsequent inflammation that can lead to blood clots
Because these symptoms can mimic those of a blood clot, it’s important to see a doctor right away to make sure it’s not a blood clot. Loose blood clots can lead to life-threatening health complications. If your doctor determines that you are not at risk for complications, your feet will absorb the fluids for one to four weeks, and your doctor will prescribe pain medication.
Ask your doctor about steroid injections. A clinical study confirmed that edema, pain and mobility improved after administration of corticosteroids to cysts in patients with Baker’s cysts caused by osteoarthritis. Your doctor will inject a corticosteroid directly into your cyst. Steroids help reduce inflammation and swelling.
The doctor will also likely use an ultrasound to locate the cyst so the needle can be inserted in the right place.
Ask your doctor if the cyst can be drained. The doctor may also remove fluid from the cyst. If you have a secondary cyst (fluid that collects in the front or side of your knee), your doctor may also remove this secondary cyst caused by a Baker’s cyst. This reduces pain and swelling and allows you to move your knee better. The doctor uses ultrasound to insert a needle into the fluid site and draw it into the syringe.
Usually 18 or 20 needles are used because the fluid in the cyst is very dense.
You may also need to do this procedure more than once – it depends on how much fluid you have in your cyst and how much fluid you have accumulated.
Doctors often perform aspiration of cyst fluid and corticosteroid injections. Many studies have confirmed that knee symptoms and function improve after performing these two procedures.
Discuss surgical removal of the cyst with your doctor. Surgery is a last resort, considered only if symptoms persist, other treatments have failed, or the cyst is very large. Under anesthesia, the doctor makes a small incision (three or four millimeters) around the cyst and drains the fluid first. Sometimes it’s not necessary to remove the entire cyst as it will usually heal on its own once the fluid is drained. After the fluid is aspirated out, the doctor usually only sutures the wound.
This surgery usually takes about an hour (or less depending on the size of the cyst). Larger cysts take longer to operate because swelling can also form around nerves and blood vessels.
You will likely be given pain medication.
When they get you out of the house, you should observe recovery – rest, ice packs, bandages and limb removal.
You may need to walk with crutches or a cane for several days to avoid putting unnecessary stress on the operated leg.
How to Maintain Muscle and Joint Strength with Baker’s Cyst
See a physical therapist. Inflammation at the site of a Baker’s cyst can cause muscle tension and joint stiffness. You should do exercises to increase flexibility and strengthen your muscles to keep your muscles and joints active. This will help you avoid muscle weakness and stiffness in the joints around the cyst later in life.
You should focus on your hamstrings, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
Standing hamstring stretch : Find a bench or something about 20 inches high. Place your injured leg on this object and slightly bend your knee. Lean forward with your back straight and fully stretch your hamstrings. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
Do this exercise three times and stretch twice a day or before and after any other physical activity.
If you can’t stretch properly this way, try leaning slightly toward the leg you’re stretching.
Stretch your hamstrings while lying down. Lie on your back and bend the knee of the leg you want to straighten. Grasp your thighs from behind with one hand and your calves with the other. Pull your legs toward your body and keep your knees slightly bent to give your hamstrings a good stretch. Hold the last position for about thirty seconds.
Repeat this exercise twice a day, as well as before and after any other physical activity.
If you can’t reach your leg to stretch, place a rolled up towel underneath. If you pull the towel, you get the same result.
Stretch your hamstrings while sitting. Sit on the edge of a chair, bend your healthy leg into a normal sitting position, and extend the injured leg in front of you with the knee slightly bent. Lean forward (keep your back straight and head up) and stretch your hamstrings. Hold in the extreme position for at least 30 seconds.
Do this exercise three times in a row twice a day or before and after your workout.
Straighten your knees. Sitting alternately stretches and flexes the knee for maximum mobility (but does not cause pain). This exercise will help you maintain knee mobility.
Do this exercise at least twenty times in a row once a day.
Stretch your hamstrings. Place a rolled up towel under your knees and straighten your legs. Press your knees down on the towel to strengthen your hamstrings. Place your fingers on your thighs to feel your muscles contract and stretch during this exercise.
Hold the extreme position for at least five seconds and do this exercise 10 times in a row, but make sure your knees don’t hurt.