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Lump behind the knee?

Could be a Bakers Cyst!


What is a Bakers Cyst?


A Bakers cyst (or popliteal cyst) is the common name for a joint fluid (synovial fluid) mass located at the back of the knee in what we call the popliteal fossa.

What are the symptoms?


  • Swollen, tender mass at the back of the knee
  • Full knee bending is restricted and can be painful
  • Deep squatting and kneeling may cause pain at the back of the knee.
  • The size of the mass may fluctuate.

What causes a Bakers cyst?


Bakers cysts are usually indicative of knee joint pathology which can include:
  • Meniscal tears (most common)
  • ACL deficiencies
  • Cartilage degeneration
  • Arthritis
Bakers Cyst
Due to its high association with knee joint pathology a full assessment of the knee is warranted to find the cause.

Can a Bakers cyst rupture?


Occasionally the cyst may rupture. This may lead to lower leg swelling which presents like venous thrombosis. Quite often you will get bruising showing near the ankle joint.

What can Physiotherapy do for my Bakers cyst?


A Physiotherapy assessment is vital for diagnosis of the underlying cause of the Bakers cyst, so treatment will depend on what is found in the assessment.

Unless the underlying pathology is addresses, it is more than likely the mass will reform.

Further investigations may be required (e.g. MRI, aspirations), however your Physiotherapist can organise a referral to an appropriate person if that is the case.