Ganglion cysts are benign sac-like growths that are commonly encountered and limbs. They are found close to joints and usually overly tendinous structures. The word ganglion can be confusing for some patients since ganglion is typically associated with nerve but a ganglion literally means Knot like.
Ganglion cysts are filled with a gelatinous jelly-like substance. These cysts are often pain free but can get inflamed and irritated. They also tend to change their size frequently. They can disappear completely and return later with activity or without any inciting factor.
Diagnosis is clinical, based on history and physical exam. The lump is visually apparent, and moves freely when manipulated and is fluctuant. X-rays are usually taken to rule out other pathologies. At times advanced imaging is required to assess the extent of the cyst and its attachments.
Treatment includes monitoring of the cyst specially if there is minimum pain. Wearing shoes that do not rub the cyst or cause irritation can be helpful. Intracystic Steroid injections have been helpful in some patients. On occasion, in office aspiration can be done but many times these cysts reappear.
When conservative treatment options fail to provide any relief, surgery is considered. The recurrence rate with surgical excision is not as high as it is with injection therapy and aspiration but the risk still remains.
If you suffer from these symptoms, please come see our doctors for a detailed exam and treatment option.