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Treatment

Treatment for a Baker's cyst is not needed if you do not have any symptoms. Any symptoms you have can be treated at home.

Further treatment will only be needed if the cyst stops you using your knee or causes persistent pain.

Self care

To treat a Baker's cyst you can:

Further treatment

See your GP for further treatment if your cyst still causes problems after you've tried the self care treatments.

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

Treating a ruptured cyst

A Baker's cyst can sometimes rupture (burst), resulting in fluid leaking down into your calf. This causes a sharp pain in your calf, which becomes red, swollen and tight.

The fluid will gradually be reabsorbed into the body within a few weeks. The recommended treatment for a ruptured cyst is rest and elevation (keeping the affected calf raised).

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

Surgery to repair knee damage

In some cases, it may be possible to drain (aspirate) a Baker's cyst. However, it may not be possible to aspirate long-term (chronic) cysts because they're made of jelly.

Surgically removing a Baker's cyst is not easy because unlike other types of cyst, they do not have a lining.

Surgery may be needed to repair your knee joint if it's significantly damaged as a result of an injury or a condition such as osteoarthritis.

A type of keyhole surgery, known as an arthroscopy, is usually used. The surgeon will use an instrument called an arthroscope to look inside your knee joint. Small surgical instruments can be used alongside the arthroscope to repair any damage.