YOUR BAKER'S CYST CARE GUIDE

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Physiobot. Joint pain questions, meet answers.

Additional information on Baker's Cysts (also called a Popliteal Cyst) is available here.

KEY POINT

Unless a Baker's cyst is causing symptoms other than swelling, it is often left to resolve with time and conservative care.

YOUR GOAL

First you need to understand our main objective: Reducing strain on the joint. This will allow inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.

REST

With that in mind, minimize activities that exacerbate your pain (running, squats etc.) Don't worry, this isn't forever, just long enough to give the joint a rest. Even just a few days can go a long way to promote recovery.

ICE OR HEAT
Due to the swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs. This will help soothe the inflammation, reduce stiffness and promote healing. You can learn more about correct icing techniques on our Icing Instructional Guide.

COMPRESSION WRAPS

Simple compression sleeves or ACE bandages can help decrease the swelling behind the knee. Compression knee braces can be useful. See below for more on this topic.

 

EXERCISES
Also begin a targeted Baker's Cyst exercise program. Make sure you address strength, range-of-motion and flexibility. Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform, our PT's have done it for you! 
Due to your limited time, we have prioritized the top 3 exercises. See below.

 

Try to do your exercises a few times a day. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes.

WHAT TO EXPECT
If it is a mild case then you should see significant improvement within 1-3 days. 

BACK IN ACTION
Once the pain and swelling diminishes, slowly ease back into your normal daily and athletic activities. Let your body be your guide. If you notice an activity worsens the pain or swelling - back off!

 

KNEE BRACES

The evidence on knee braces is mixed and should not replace exercises. That said, many individuals report significant pain relief when utilizing a brace. For a Baker's cyst, a brace providing general compression to reduce the swelling is most important. For additional guidance, please view our Knee Brace Review page.

 

NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH?
Connecting with a joint care professional is the logical next step. Many individuals find this a bit daunting and delay care. But it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the earlier treatment is initiated the more likely you are to experience a full recovery. 

 

CARE ACCESS

To review your Physical Therapy options, check out our PT Resource Guide. To find a clinician who accepts your insurance, you can launch our Physiobot Care Access Specialist.

RESOURCES

-- Check with your doctor or PT prior to initiating a new exercise program --

YOUR EXERCISES

#1

Range of Motion

Following a cruciate ligament injury the knee tends to swell, restricting the knee range-of-motion. This exercise methodically and safely address this tightness and ROM restriction.

Selected based on your condition match and care profile

Stretches

Hold for 45-60 seconds

1-2 repetitions per session

Perform on each side

Strengthening

10-15 repetitions per set

1 set per session

Perform on each side

Want to save for later? We are happy to email your exercises.

#2

Short Arc Quads

This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens following a knee injury, leading to knee buckling and pain.

#3

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings run along the back of your thigh and attach around the knee. Stretching these muscles helps alleviate tightness and pain associated with Baker's cysts.