On call: Baker's cyst

Published: August, 2010

Q. I'm 67 years old, and except for an enlarged prostate, I'm in perfect health. Recently, I noticed a soft swelling behind my left knee. I saw an orthopedist who told me I have a Baker's cyst. He said I don't need any tests or treatments, but I worry that it may interfere with my tennis. Should I ignore it or get treatment?

A. Although the precise incidence is not known, Baker's cysts are quite common, particularly in people age 35 and up. These cysts are nothing more than an accumulation of fluid in one of the six bursa sacs that cushion the back of the knee. Because this part of the knee is known as the popliteal fossa, the fluid-filled sacs are also called popliteal cysts.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »