Baker’s Cyst treatment plan

We’ve detailed what a Baker’s Cyst is and how it behaves (if you missed it, click here to recap).

The next logical step is figuring out a Baker’s Cyst treatment plan to get rid of it.

Our team of Sports Physios have chipped in with their best tips for Baker’s Cyst treatment.

Knee swelling treatments

  1. Anti-inflammatory meds
    • Meds such as Nurofen or Voltaren can be helpful for short term (1-2 weeks) relief of swelling
    • After 2 weeks, meds such as Mobic or Celebrex (which require a doctor’s prescription in most countries) are more appropriate for longer term use
    • Remember that meds can minimise new swelling but they don’t get rid of swelling that’s already built up
  2. Better shoes
  3. Knee brace
    • A firm compression brace can be very helpful at clearing existing levels of swelling
    • It works better in conjunction with medication
    • It must be quite firm to be effective

Best exercises for Baker’s Cysts

  1. Squats
    • The good ol’ Squat is still one of the best options because of its simplicity and effectiveness
    • Only lower to half depth (knee bend at 90 degrees) or less if that causes discomfort
    • Only squat on two legs. Avoid single leg squats due to the additional twisting force at the knee
  2. Wall sit
    • A squat variation, this involves sitting against a flat wall with feet shoulder width apart and shins vertical
    • It’s safe as there is no movement at the knee and the loading can be controlled based on how far down the wall you sit
    • It can be progressed to single leg if required
  3. Hip bridges
    • This exercise involves laying on your back, knees bent and feet on floor. Then push through feet to lift your hips off the floor
    • It builds strength in hamstrings and gluteals without loading the knees
    • The knee doesn’t move or take bodyweight loading so it’s safe for even the most sensitive knee

What to avoid for Baker’s Cysts

  1. Forcing the knee to fully straighten or bend
    • Even though the movement is reduced, it’s limited by fluid pressure in the knee. Force it and you’ll only force fluid INTO the Baker’s Cyst
    • This commonly occurs with muscle stretching such as quads or hammy stretches
  2. Excessive twisting forces
    • This tends to worsen Baker’s Cysts as most causes of swelling get aggravated by twisting forces
    • For example, walking on rocky or sandy ground or some gardening tasks
  3. Alcohol
    • Yep, unfortunately your evening routine may be making the swelling worse
    • Alcohol will increase swelling reactions and produces more fluid in the knee