Popliteal cyst

Last reviewed: 6 Jun 2022
Last updated: 22 Sep 2021

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • popliteal bulge
  • knee pain
  • leg swelling
  • calf tenderness
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • calf ecchymosis
  • lyme disease
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • knee joint trauma
  • underlying knee joint arthritis or synovitis
  • underlying knee joint infection
  • increasing age
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • duplex ultrasound of the leg
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • MRI of the leg
  • CT scan of the leg
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

asymptomatic

symptomatic: initial treatment

symptomatic: refractory to initial conservative treatment

Contributors

Authors

John D. Kelly IV, MD

Professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery

Director of Sports Shoulder Service

Orthopaedic Surgery

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

PA

Disclosures

JK declares that he has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr John D. Kelly IV would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Antonios P. Gasparis and Dr Nicos Labropoulos, previous contributors to this topic.

Disclosures

APG declares that he has no competing interests. NL is the author of multiple references cited in this topic.

Peer reviewers

Brian Sabb, DO

Clinical Lecturer II

Orthopedic Radiologist

Department of Radiology

University of Michigan Medical Center

Ann Arbor

MI

Disclosures

BS declares that he has no competing interests.

Hill Gaston, MA, PhD, BM BCh, FRCP, FMedSci

Professor of Rheumatology

University of Cambridge

Clinical Director

West Anglia CLRN

Cambridge

UK

Disclosures

HG declares that he has no competing interests.

Richard Wakefield, BM, MRCP, MD

Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology

Academic Section of Musculoskeletal Disease

Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine

Chapel Allerton Hospital

Leeds

UK

Disclosures

RW declares that he has no competing interests.

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