If you have a soft lump at the back of your knee, it could be a Baker’s cyst. Often called a popliteal cyst or synovial cyst, a Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled lump that may be mistaken for a blood clot. In most cases, it occurs because there is an issue with your knee joint, such as:
- Arthritis, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause a Baker’s cyst
- Inflammation from a variety of conditions
- Trauma to your knee resulting in a tear in the meniscus or ligament
A Baker’s cyst is filled with synovial fluid, which lubricates and protects your joints. In your knee, synovial fluid moves through the open spaces in the joint. However, when your knee becomes damaged, swollen, or builds up fluid, the pressure causes the synovial fluid to push toward the back of your knee through a one-way valve, where it can build up and create a soft lump or bulge.
A Baker’s cyst can be painless, but in many cases you may experience a number of symptoms, especially if the cyst is large. You may have pain, stiffness, hampered mobility of the knee, swelling behind your knee that moves into your calf, bruising of the area, and rupture of the cyst.
In some cases, a Baker’s cyst will rupture under the skin. If that happens, the synovial fluid will be reabsorbed by your body’s tissues. It’s also possible for the cyst to go away on its own. However, when the cyst is large, painful, or inhibiting range of motion, treatment may be necessary.
Because the underlying cause of a Baker’s cyst is a problem with your knee, treatment is focused on treating the cause of the cyst, not only for relief, but to prevent future recurrences.
How We Can Help
At BodaHealth, our first line of treatment for Baker’s cyst and other knee conditions is acupuncture to treat your symptoms as well as the underlying issue with your knee. A great deal of research has determined that acupuncture can be effective in treating pain, osteoarthritis, and inflammation of the knee. Acupuncture works to relieve pain by ramping up the neurotransmitters in your brain that act as your body’s own opioid system. In addition, acupuncture works to reduce inflammation, increase circulation in the treated area, and support healing. Our acupuncture practitioners may incorporate electric stimulation into your treatment, when appropriate. Electric stimulation involves a mild and painless electric current applied to the needles to enhance effectiveness and boost pain relief. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29117967
Exercise and gentle movement is helpful in improving the mobility in your knee and strengthening the surrounding muscles. At BodaHealth, we offer one-on-one sessions with therapeutic exercise, fascial stretch and Pilates practitioners. Their goal is to increase your range of motion, stretch, strengthen, and maintain the function and mobility of your knee.
We also have an osteopathic practitioner at BodaHealth who is trained in manual manipulation as a way to address underlying health issues. She offers hands-on treatments that are used to both diagnose and treat illnesses.
Shockwave therapy treatments are also very effecting for treating Baker’s cysts. The treatment involves mild sound waves to the front and the back of the knee. Shock wave increases circulation to the injured area and signals your body to initiate a healing response and relieve pain.
At BodaHealth, we believe that you are more than just a health condition. We are committed to treating the underlying source of your condition, and in many cases that involves working with nutritional and environmental factors. Because inflammation is often an underlying issue with knee conditions, we offer dietary therapy to address systemic inflammation. Our acupuncture practitioners are well-trained and experienced in Chinese dietary therapy and herbal medicinals, and our naturopathic doctors are able to assess your diet, detect environmental toxins, and recommend vitamin, herbal and dietary supplements—all as a way to reduce inflammation and support healing.
A Baker’s cyst can be painful, limit your physical activity, and interfere with your life. The good news, is that at BodaHealth, we can help. We have a number of healing tools and a staff of caring practitioners. Call us today to see how BodaHealth can help you!