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A Baker’s cyst is no more than another name for a swelling at the back of the knee caused by an out-pouching of the knee capsule. The capsule is the bag which contains the knee joint’s lubricating fluid called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is produced by the synovium which is the inner lining of the knee capsule.
The cyst can be caused by a sports-related injury or blow to the knee or a number of health conditions, including:
- Osteoarthritis – usually caused by age-related “wear and tear” of joints, it particularly affects the knees, hips, hands and big toe
- Rheumatoid arthritis – a less common but crippling type of arthritis caused by the immune system attacking the joints
- Gout – a type of arthritis that usually affects the big toe caused by a build-up of uric acid (waste product) in the blood
A Baker’s cyst is more common in women than men, probably because women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It usually develops in people aged over the age of 40, although it can affect people of any age, including children.
You can relieve any pain and reduce the swelling using over-the-counter painkillers, bandages or an ice pack
It’s important that any underlying condition is properly managed as the cyst may go away when the condition causing it has been treated.
Surgery is almost never indicated. Treating the underlying condition usually allows the Bakers cyst to resolve.