What’s a Ganglion Cyst?
Ganglion cysts are round, liquid-filled growths that develop along the joints or tendons. They can also grow up to an inch in diameter causing pressure and pain on surrounding nerves and hindering overall joint mobility. In rare instances, Ganglion cysts can also be recurring.
What Causes a Ganglion Cyst?
The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown. However, their formation is often tied back to trauma or repeated irritation which causes surrounding tissue to become displaced. This displacement of tissue creates a round lump that typically forms on the top of the foot or ankle. Those who have suffered from arthritis and bone spurs may also tend to experience ganglion cyst formation.
How to Identify a Ganglion Cyst
The most identifiable characteristic of a ganglion cyst is the round bulging shape it forms on your foot or ankle. However, some other symptoms & characteristics are:
- Pain & irritation
- Loss of foot or ankle mobility
- Swelling with activity & corresponding depression with rest
- Location – typically develops on the joints & tendons of the ankle or tops of the foot & toes
How to Treat Ganglion Cysts
There are many care & treatment options for ganglion cysts – from home remedies to surgical treatments in certain cases.
Home Remedies For Ganglion Cysts
Ganglion cysts often dissipate on their own. Below are home remedies that may help to clear the cyst:
- Over-the-counter pain reliever
- Appropriate footwear to reduce irritation
- Soaking the cyst with a mix of warm water & Epsom salt
- Applying a warm compress
Some things you should not try on your own include:
- Flattening the cyst with pressure or impact
- Popping the cyst & self-draining (this may lead to infection)
Surgical & Non-Surgical Treatment Options
A podiatrist may suggest you give your ganglion cyst some time to heal on its own. However, if it’s causing pain or interfering with foot or ankle mobility they may suggest:
- Wearing a brace or splint
- Aspiration – draining the cyst
- Cortisone shots
- Surgically removing not only the cyst, but any attachment it has to the joint or tendon it’s stemming from
At Advanced Foot & Ankle our podiatrists always look to conservative treatment first and only suggest surgery when absolutely necessary. With early examination and treatment they can often resolve your cyst in a timely fashion as well.
Our podiatrists will begin the treatment of your ganglion cyst by performing a complete examination – occasionally running additional tests (X-rays, MRIs, etc.) to confirm your diagnosis. Next, the podiatrists will look to the non-surgical treatment options they feel will best help you in your recovery. If the cyst continues to reoccur or is painful they will then look to a surgical treatment.