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Pain at the back of the knee? Have a podiatrist, GP, or physiotherapist check it. It could be a Baker’s cyst.

A Baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, can provide no symptoms at all, or it can be the cause of swelling located at the back of the knee. There may be aching, and swelling in the back of the knee. With the leg fully extended there may be a tight sensation.

A Baker’s cyst occurs after an injury to the meniscus of the knee joint, with arthritis of the knee, or may involve the knee bursa. Containing an outcropping of fluid from the knee joint itself. Occasionally the cyst can rupture, resulting in swelling, redness, and fluid build-up further down the leg.

Treatment of a Baker’s cyst is usually performed by treating the causative symptoms. If it is due to arthritis or meniscal damage, settling these conditions will usually settle the cyst. Rest and pain relief may help with discomfort in the short term. In rare conditions steroid injections, drainage, or surgical excision is necessary.

Pain in the back of the knee can also be due to a number of other causes, including hamstring or popliteal muscle tendinopathy, arthritis, meniscal damage, Posterior cruciate ligament damage, referred nerve pain, or arterial insufficiency. Many of the symptoms of a Baker’s cyst can also mirror those seen with deep vein thrombosis. As a result, an examination and imaging is recommended to rule out the possibility of a more sinister cause.