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What causes intermittent lump in the left knee?

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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 5137 Questions
I have an intermittent lump on the front of my left knee, feels like a fluid pocket. It started when I was backpacking on the AT after a couple of months, I continued hiking about a month with it (it doesn't hurt) and I've been home for about four months. The swelling has occasionally gone down entirely, but then it pops back up during activities. It looks like a smallish golf ball is working it's way out of the kneecap. I'm not sure, it may be discolored just a little, like a bruise. This part is new. Also, it has been swollen to varying degrees since Monday, although it looked completely normal Monday morning.
Posted Sun, 3 Dec 2017 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Meniscal cyst

Detailed Answer:
Hi there

Thanks for the query

It's possible that you may have a meniscal cyst.

Avoid bending knee, climbing stairs, kneeling, cross leg sitting.

Do get an ultrasound of the knee joint and get the mass assessed. If the radiologist is convinced it's a cyst, toy could get an MRI scan as necessary to describe the lesion adequately.

I hope I have answered your query.

I will be available to answer your follow up queries.


Dr.Aashish Raghu
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes intermittent lump in the left knee? 20 minutes later
An ultrasound, MRI, etc. isn't really an option right now. Is it possible for it to heal on it's own? Would it benefit from some kind of brace to immobilize it? And if so, what kind?

Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Bursitis vs Meniscal cyst

Detailed Answer:
You can wear a knee cap or elastic crepe bandage. Keep the limb elevated whenever possible.

The swelling has the potential to go on its own but is rare. Rather if it turns out to be a bursitis it can disappear soon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes intermittent lump in the left knee? 33 minutes later
The reason I ask is that when I look for information about meniscal cysts, there is an implication that it may OR MAY NOT require surgical intervention. In the case of a tear, could it heal on it's own if I give it appropriate support? I am not in a position to have surgery, nor am I financially able to pay for surgery and tests, and since there is not actual pain I would like to explore other options before swirling into a financial hole. The swelling has gone on its own before, but then I went to work and it popped back up again. Avoiding stairs, etc. is not doable as upstairs is where the bathroom is, and I do warehouse work and wait tables for work.
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Not a problem. You can do physiotherapy

Detailed Answer:
I can comment on the need for surgery only after viewing your MRI report of the knee.

If the swelling doesn't bother you much them you can continue with knee physiotherapy quadriceps strengthening exercises. Avoid collision sports, running.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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