What you need to know about Ganglion Cysts


ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, to discuss Ganglion Cysts, what they are, where they are located and different treatment options.

What are Ganglion Cysts?

A ganglion cyst is a round, fluid-filled lump of tissue that usually appears along tendons or joints. It typically occurs on the wrist or hand, but it can also appear on the ankle or foot. Ganglion cysts range in size. They can be as small as a pea or as large as a golf ball. They can also be soft or firm. Some cysts are visible underneath the skin, but others are so small that you can’t see them.

ganglion cysts

What are the symptoms of a ganglion cyst?

It’s possible to have a ganglion cyst and not even know it. If symptoms do occur, the most common sign of a ganglion cyst is a visible lump or mass on your wrist, hand, ankle, or foot.

If the cyst is on your foot or ankle, you may feel discomfort or pain, especially when walking or wearing shoes. If the cyst is near a nerve, it can sometimes cause:

  • Loss of mobility
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tingling Sensations

Some ganglion cysts can become bigger or smaller over time. When visible, a ganglion cyst looks like a round or misshapen lump or bump just below the skin’s surface. It often appears on your wrist, finger, or ankle, or foot. Because it’s filled with liquid, it can sometimes appear to be translucent.

How are ganglion cysts treated?

Ganglion cysts often go away without treatment. If the cyst doesn’t cause pain or discomfort, treatment isn’t necessary. Your doctor may advise you to do the following:

  • Avoid repetitive hand and wrist movements.
  • Wear a wrist brace because immobilization might cause the cyst to shrink.
  • Wear shoes that don’t touch the cyst if it’s on your foot or ankle.
  • If the ganglion cyst causes pain or limits your mobility, your doctor may aspirate it. During this procedure, they’ll drain fluid from the cyst with a syringe.
  • Surgical removal is an option if other treatments haven’t worked. However, the cyst may return even if your doctor has surgically removed it.

Learn More About Dr. Michael K. Kim

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