According to Mayo Clinic, baker's cysts are caused by injuries or arthritic conditions that result in the knee joint producing excess synovial fluid, which is a substance naturally created by the body that is essential for preventing friction between the joints and bones of the knee. As the fluid builds up, it can create a cyst behind the knee.
MedlinePlus explains that in many cases, baker's cysts do not cause additional symptoms, but large cysts may cause pain or tension. Cysts that burst open can also cause bruises, discomfort and swelling behind the knee. Blood clots can often be mistaken for baker's cysts, so it is important for individuals with swelling or pain behind the knee to consult with a physician to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.
According to WebMD, baker's cysts may resolve on their own, but may require treatment if the condition is caused by arthritis. Treatments include needle drainage, steroid injections, knee wrapping and surgery. Home care remedies for baker's cysts include rest and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Individuals with baker's cysts may also be advised to utilize canes, crutches or walkers if the condition causes limited mobility. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help minimize pressure on the knees.