Baker's cysts appear in the back of the knee. At first, they may produce pressure and mild pain. They are the result of degenerative processes that affect the knee joint. They may progressively enlarge, compressing nerves and blood vessels. Alternately, they may rupture leading to increased inflammation. Obstruction of the venous drainage of the leg may produce blood clots in the calf.
Causes of Baker's Cyst
Baker's cysts develop in response to other knee disorders. These include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or cartilage injury. They can occur without any cause. Gout, septic arthritis, and joint trauma may also cause these symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Baker's Cyst
Baker's cysts may initially be asymptomatic or produce only mild discomfort. As the cysts enlarge, however, the tibial nerve may become compressed. This produces numbness or tingling in the sole of the foot and weakness in the flexors of the ankle. The veins may become clotted, leading to pain, tenderness, and swelling in the calf. Associated knee pain or decreased range of motion of the knee may be due to the cyst or the underlying disorder affecting the knee joint.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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