Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Because doctor's appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, as well as what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For a Baker's cyst, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What caused this cyst to develop?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is a Baker's cyst temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- What steps can I take on my own that might help?
- Do I need to limit my activity? If so, how much? And, for how long?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Do you feel pain or stiffness all the time, or does the pain come and go with activity?
- Does your knee swell, feel unstable or lock?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If the cyst isn't causing you pain, you may not need to do anything prior to seeing your doctor. However, if the cyst is causing symptoms, such as pain and stiffness, taking the following steps may help:
- Use a cold pack or ice wrapped in a protective covering to ice the affected area when it's bothering you.
- Rest your affected knee and keep the leg elevated whenever possible.
- Take an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication to ease your symptoms. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others) can reduce pain and inflammation, while acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can ease pain.
- Use a knee sleeve or brace for compression.
- Helfgott SM. Popliteal (Baker's) cyst. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 27, 2012.
- Handy JR. Popliteal cysts in adults: A review. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2001;31:108.
- Knee problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Knee_Problems/. Accessed June 27, 2012.