Baker's cyst: swelling in the hollow of the knee

A protrusion in the knee sounds uncomfortable - and it is too. What helps against the Baker's cyst? And can you prevent it?

If the knee joint is injured or worn, a permanent effusion forms on the joint. The fluid runs into the knee joint cavity and forms a protuberance. If the Baker's cyst bursts, calf pain is common

© W & B / Astrid Zacharias

Whether you are a craftsman or a jogger: if the hollows of your knees are swollen, little is possible. You have a constant feeling of pressure and pain. Experts speak of the Baker's cyst here. This is a bulging of the knee joint capsule, which forms in the hollow of the knee, as Prof. Sven Ostermeier explains. He is the head orthopedic surgeon at the Gundelfingen Joint Clinic.

Causes: Injuries and wear and tear

As a rule, protuberances arise from injuries such as meniscus tears or signs of wear and tear such as osteoarthritis. These processes lead to the body producing more synovial fluid, according to Ostermeier. "If the joint capsule can no longer hold this fluid, it will turn out." The result is an effusion in the knee joint - the term "water in the knee" is often used here.

In this way you can alleviate the symptoms yourself

Anyone who has such a cyst should avoid or at least reduce excessive stress on the knee. This is especially true for everyone who constantly moves their knees at work. Small cysts often disappear after a few days of rest. Cooling and stretching help against the discomfort. Exercise, especially cycling, is also good.

Seek professional help

From a medical point of view, very small cysts can often be treated with anti-inflammatory agents combined with physical therapy. Jointoscopies, called arthroscopies, can also help.

How can you prevent a Baker's cyst?

The question of how to prevent such a knee joint effusion is not so easy to answer, explains Ostermeier. Because there are many possible causes. The effusion is more or less a symptom. So the trigger would have to be found and treated as a preventive measure in order to prevent the effusion from occurring.