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Bakers Cyst


A Bakers cyst, or popliteal cyst, is a bulging lump behind your knee. Inside the lump is a sac filled with fluid. The cyst is caused by fluid buildup in your knee joint. This can happen if you have a knee injury, such as a cartilage tear. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can also cause an abnormal buildup of joint fluid.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You have bruising on the ankle below the cyst.
  • Your calf turns blue below the cyst.
  • Your calf or knee is swollen or bleeding.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain does not improve with medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available without a doctor's order. Your healthcare provider will tell you which medicine to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if they are not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your knee:

  • Rest as needed. Limit movement as your knee heals. This will help decrease the risk of more damage to your knee. You may need crutches to take weight off your injured knee. Use crutches as directed.
  • Ice your knee. Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack, or put ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place the ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day. Do this for 2 to 3 days.
  • Support your knee. Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage. Ask your healthcare provider if you need a brace for more support. This will help decrease swelling and movement so your knee can heal.
  • Elevate your knee. Use pillows to raise your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling.
  • Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bakers Cyst (Aftercare Instructions)

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