How is a Baker’s cyst treated?
Treatment of a Baker’s cyst usually starts with nonsurgical options. One time-honored method that sports doctors and orthopaedic surgeons have relied on for decades to soothe swelling from joint damage is the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Often, your healthcare provider will suggest that you start with a nonsurgical treatment of your Baker’s cyst. These are generally things you can do at home and on your own that can improve your symptoms.
Nonsurgical treatment options can include the RICE method:
- Resting your leg whenever possible.
- Applying ice to your knee.
- Using compression wraps on your knee to decrease the amount of joint swelling.
- Elevating your knee while you are resting.
Other nonsurgical treatment options for a Baker’s cyst can include:
- Taking an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight, which can help put less pressure on your joints.
- Avoiding activities that strain your knee. This includes avoiding high-impact sports like jogging.
- Using a crutch or cane when you walk.
- Getting a referral for physical therapy from your healthcare provider to help strengthen your knee and body.
Your healthcare provider may also give you a steroid injection. This involves cortisone being injected into your knee joint, which can reduce inflammation (swelling) and pain.
Even though surgery is rarely used to treat a Baker’s cyst, there are some cases where surgery might be recommended. Surgery may be used to repair the source of your knee damage.
Your provider might suggest a surgical option to you if:
- Your knee pain is severe.
- You’re unable to move your knee well (limited range of motion).
In many cases, your provider will treat the cause of your condition in order to fix your Baker’s cyst. This might involve surgery for a knee injury or to correct damage to your knee. In other cases, your provider might focus on the cyst itself. Surgical options for Baker’s cysts can include:
- Cyst draining: Your healthcare provider can drain the fluid out of the cyst with a needle.
- Arthroscopic Knee Surgery: This procedure can be used to both diagnose and correct knee damage. Your surgeon will make a small cut in your knee and insert a device called an arthroscope (a flexible tool with a camera on the end). This is also called knee scoping.
- Knee Osteotomy: In this procedure, your surgeon cuts part of the bone in order to correct damage to your knee. This surgery can be an option for those with arthritis knee pain.