9 Mar 17

Painful lump behind your knee what you need to know

Do you get pain behind your knee? Does it feel like you have a lump behind your knee? If so, you may have a Baker’s cyst.

Baker’s cysts can be quite common however are often misunderstood even by many health professionals.

We’re not too sure what a painful lump at the back of your knee has to do with Bakers!

So, what is a Baker’s cyst?
It’s a collection of fluid (swelling and normal joint fluid) in a pouch at the back of the knee. It is like an overflow reservoir for when there is too much fluid in the knee already. When the pouch becomes full with fluid it is termed a “Baker’s cyst”.
What is the problem with a Baker’s cyst?
A Baker’s cyst can cause pain which can be quite uncomfortable directly behind your knee. It can also cause a tightness or pain up the back of the leg (usually in the calf region). If it becomes so enlarged it is even possible for the cyst to rupture or burst which results in the fluid leaking out into your calf where is can become quite swollen or even bruised.
What is the BIGGER problem with a Baker’s cyst?
Besides from the issues mentioned above, the bigger issue with having a Baker’s cyst is that the fluid has to be coming from somewhere. This mean that there absolutely has to be something injured or irritated within the knee. The bizarre thing is that often the knee isn’t particularly sore anywhere else except for behind the knee where the Baker’s cyst is. The common injuries which are present in those with a Baker’s cyst are meniscus or cartilage damage or arthritis. There can also be a number of other injuries and nasty things going on deep in your knee which can cause fluid leading to a Baker’s cyst.

Despite having pain from the Baker’s cyst, which understandably you will just want gone, it is IMPERATIVE to find out what the underlying cause is!

This leads me to what frustrates me with Baker’s cysts. It is not uncommon for people with Baker’s cysts to have cortisone injections into them or even have them drained. Whilst this may relieve the pain, as it gets rid of the fluid, it does absolutely nothing in addressing any injury which is causing the cyst! When this happens, you open yourself up to the issue simply coming back again and again.

The good news! We see quite a lot of these in the clinic and there is quite a lot that can be done to give initial relief from the pain of the Baker’s cyst and also to address the underlying cause. The most important thing is have the underlying cause identified and our physiotherapists are well trained to assess for conditions which can cause a Baker’s cyst. Once identified a plan can then be established as to how to treat or best manage this underlying cause.
If you have had Baker’s cysts in the past and have only ever had the symptoms of the cyst treated and not the underlying cause, then you ought to find out what has been causing these Baker’s cysts. To arrange an appointment with one of our physiotherapists for this phone 8850 7770 or make a booking online.

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