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Pain management health centre

Treating Baker's cyst

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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You can treat a Baker's cyst yourself at home. Further treatment is only needed if the cyst stops you using your knee properly or causes pain that doesn't go away.

To treat a Baker's cyst:

  • take  non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to reduce swelling and pain in the affected knee
  • hold an ice pack to the knee for 10-20 minutes to reduce any swelling - try a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth (never put ice directly on your skin) 
  • rest your knee joint
  • use compression bandages to support your knee joint - you can buy these from a pharmacy

Further treatment

See your GP for further treatment if your cyst still causes problems after you have tried the treatments above.

One treatment option is to inject  corticosteroid medication directly into the affected knee. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling.

Treating a ruptured cyst

In rare cases, a Baker's cyst can burst, causing fluid to leak down into your calf. This can cause sharp pain and swelling in your calf. The fluid will gradually be reabsorbed into the body within a few weeks.

Prescription painkillers - usually a combination of paracetamol and codeine - can be used to control any pain. See your GP for a prescription.

Surgery to repair damage to the knee

If there is a lot of damage to the knee joint caused by a condition such as  osteoarthritis or a physical injury, surgery may be needed to fix the problem with the joint. This is usually done using a type of keyhole surgery called arthroscopy. This allows the surgeon to look inside a joint and repair or remove any damage.

Medical Review: September 04, 2013

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