Ganglion cysts are small, benign, fluid-filled sacs. The cysts are not cancerous, and they are usually harmless. Check-out this blog to learn causes, symptoms, risk factors of cysts and its treatment options.
How to identify a Ganglion Cyst?
If you notice one or more small, round/oval lumps near the joints of your hands & legs like wrist, ankle, knee etc., it could be Ganglion Cyst. They can range from the size of a pea to that of a golf ball.
Are they painful?
Usually, the cysts are painless. They can be painful if they are pressing on a nerve nearby. Depending on the location, they can even interfere with the joint movement sometimes.
Do they cause numbness?
Sometimes, the region around the cyst can feel numb, and grip strength can be reduced in the affected hand.
What are Risk factors?
Gender & age: Ganglion cysts can develop in individuals of both the sexes. They are generally seen in women of 20 to 40 age group.
Osteoarthritis: Individuals with arthritis of the finger joints and wrist joints are prone to develop ganglion cysts.
Also read about -Osteoarthritis Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
Injury: Joints and tendons that have been injured in the past are more likely to develop ganglion cysts.
Overuse of joints: People who use certain joints vigorously are more likely to develop ganglion cysts.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose a ganglion cyst by simply looking at it. A few tests may be advised to rule out other conditions like arthritis or a tumour. These include:
X-Ray of the affected joint
Ultrasoundof the affected joint
MRI of the affected joint
What are the possible complications?
Other than being cosmetically unattractive, Ganglion cyst is a benign condition and usually doesnt have any complications. In some patients, restriction of joint movements may be present.
How is this condition treated?
Initially, your doctor would advise you to wait and watch the progress of the ganglion cyst. If the cyst is painful and is increasing in size, your doctor may advise aspiration of the cyst. Surgical removal may be required if other measures fail or if the cyst is restricting joint movements.
Dont try to treat the cyst by thumping a hard object against it. This can damage the surrounding tissues.
What can I do to reduce the discomfort?
If the cyst is on the foot or ankle, wear shoes that do not rub or irritate the cyst. Placing a pad inside the shoe may also help. Apply a splint or brace to the area to limit movement. This may reduce discomfort & cause the cyst to shrink in size. Moving the affected area might increase the cysts size.
How can I prevent this condition?
Some cysts may be triggered to form after trauma or overuse of a joint, avoiding these situations may reduce the risk of cyst formation. But the cause of a ganglion cyst is unknown, so it is difficult to tell how to prevent them. Early evaluation and treatment are recommended.
Article by Dr. Chittimalla Ajaiya Kishoar, MBBS, MS(General Surgery)
Consultant Surgeon, CallHealth
Have a question? Consult Dr. Chittimalla online.