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Bakers Cyst

A Bakers Cyst (also known as a Popliteal Cyst) is a common disorder of the knee, that usually occurs from an underlying condition or injury, where a fluid-filled sac forms on the back of the knee. 

What is Bakers Cyst?

In the knee joint, there is a layer of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant to help reduce friction within the joint. Small fluid-filled sacs called bursa act as a cushioning agent and helps reduce friction between the knee joint and other muscles and structures. With a Bakers Cyst, the knee creates excess synovial fluid, usually in response to some kind of damage or injury. This excess fluid travels behind the knee and into the popliteal bursa, which swells and bulges, forming a Bakers Cyst. 

Bakers Cyst

Signs and Symptoms of Bakers Cyst

The severity of symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Some people do not experience any symptoms at all. For those that do, some of the more common signs and symptoms include: 

  • Swelling behind the knee and/or lower leg
  • Feeling of fullness or a lump behind the knee
  • Knee pain 
  • Stiffness/inability to bend the knee
  • Limited range of motion
  • If the cyst becomes large, it can interfere with blood flow, causing pain, swelling and weakness in the lower leg, and numbness if there is nerve compression. 
  • On the rare occasion the cyst ruptures, fluid can track down the calf and lead to a 'bruise' around the ankle

Causes of Bakers Cyst

As mentioned above, a Bakers Cyst usually is the result of an injury or underlying knee condition. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear
  • Popliteal Injury
  • Gout

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Bakers Cyst

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