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I will spare everyone the gory details, but I went to my sports medicine doc yesterday and an ultrasound showed a Baker's Cyst had formed at the back of my left knee. My two options were physical therapy to eventually shrink the cyst, or a procedure in which the cyst is drained, an immediate fix. I went with the latter, even knowing that the cyst could come back. Fast forward to today, the cyst was drained, I slept the night with my leg propped on a pillow with a heating pad soothing my knee and it feels great today! There is still some swelling and soreness from the procedure, but the cyst is definitely gone.

I'll get to the point- I would like to avoid the Baker's Cyst from forming again, on either knee, and I would like to know the best methods of healing my knee and getting it back into optimal shape. (Aside from whining to my personal trainer to take it easy on me "because my knee hurts"-- Because he won't)

I work out 2 to 3 times a week doing weight training and cardio exercises, I am an avid snowboarder in the winter months, and I will be taking up surfing this summer. I walk about 45 minutes total a day during my commute, and even more on weekends, given I don't have a car.

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Baker's cysts often stem from other conditions, such as swelling due arthritis or knee injury. The prevailing opinion in the sources I've read is that there's no known way to prevent Baker's cysts from occurring; however, treating the underlying condition could help prevent cysts. For example, this site suggests that if the Bakers Cyst is due to knee arthritis, strengthening the muscles around the knee can help. According to the article, "the stronger the muscles get, the less force goes through the bones making it less likely that the knee will swell which therefore prevents another knee cyst from developing." If you do strengthening exercises that target the quads, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius (calf), you'll hit the main knee-strengthening muscles. ExRx is a good reference for finding exercises to target specific muscle groups. Rehabilitation should always be done under the guidance of a physiotherapist/doctor to target your specific needs though. Pushing the knee too hard or in the wrong way could just cause more inflammation and another cyst.

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Stretching, maybe? Or try adding some balancing activities to both legs. Like balancing on one foot on one of those half-balls. Any type of balance exercise should provide strengthening to your joints without adding mass or putting strain on your knees.

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Care to explain why this helps? –  Ivo Flipse May 19 '11 at 21:49

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