Cysts are fluid filled sacs that may be located anywhere in the body. The most commonly diagnosed cyst around the knee is called a Baker's or popliteal cyst due to its location on the backside of the knee in the popliteal space. Within the knee there exists a one way valve in which fluid flows from the knee to this sac. Usually, damage occurring either acutely or chronically within the knee creates swelling and fluid accumulation. This swelling, or fluid accumulation, is pumped from the knee to this fluid filled sac. As this excessive fluid accumulates in this cyst the patient may experience a feeling of fullness or stiffness as well as swelling and sometimes pain in the back of the knee. This fluid accumulation may restrict the ability to fully bend or straighten the knee. It may initially be treated with cortisone injections, and anti inflammatory medications.
In most instances, draining or removing this or popliteal cyst does not help alleviate the condition unless the source of the fluid inside the knee is addressed simultaneously. This usually requires arthroscopic intervention to repair or remove torn menisci or joint surface lining cartilage. Thereafter, the popliteal cyst usually disappears or reduces in size and does not require any additional procedures or treatment.
On occasion, a popliteal cyst may rupture and cause swelling to travel down the back of the lower leg. This can be painful for several months and presents with a slightly higher risk of causing blood clots in the leg.
For more information on how the ligamentous injuries specialists at Cary Orthopaedics can help you, contact us today at 919-467-4992 for an appointment!
Cary Orthopaedics serves patients from Raleigh, Garner, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, Chapel Hill, and Pittsboro, NC.