written by Matthew Henderson, Physical Therapist
Unless a Baker's cyst is causing symptoms (other than swelling) they are often left to resolve with time and conservative care.
First you need to understand our main objective: Reducing strain on the joint. This will allow inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.
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
If you experience swelling go with icing over hot packs. This will help with the pain/stiffness and promote healing (info on exercise page below.)
Simple compression sleeves or ACE bandages can help decrease the swelling behind the knee.
Also begin a targeted ACL 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! Just select the exercise option 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 injury then you should see significant improvement within just a few days.
BACK IN ACTION
Once the pain diminishes, VERY slowly ease back into your normal daily and athletic activities.
NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH
Check back in and I'll connect you with a licensed physical therapist in your area.
And always look on the bright side - you've got knees! Physiobot can only dream. #knees4physiobot
-- Check with your doctor or PT prior to initiating a new exercise program --
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.
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.
The quadriceps are key to activities such as getting out of chairs without pain or difficulty. This exercise strengthens them without adding strain to the ACL.
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.
This exercise is a conservative approach to both improving hamstrings contraction AND your knee's range-of-motion.
Excessive swelling restricts knee range of motion, inhibits the knee musculature and slow the healing process. Icing quickly and methodically for short periods for the first 3-5 days following injury is extremely beneficial.