What is it?
A ganglion cyst is a common, harmless sac of fluid that frequently grows around the wrist, hand, or fingers. It is most commonly found on the back of the wrist. These cysts may be a small as a pea or as large as a peach pit, and may be painful and bothersome or may not cause any problems at all. Some cysts may go away without treatment, but if the cyst is an annoyance treatment is available.
Signs and Symptoms of this Condition
◾A soft mass or lump that may increase or decrease in size
◾The area around the cyst may be tender or painful
◾If on the palm side of the wrist, you may have numbness or tingling in your fingers
◾The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown
◾Injury or repetitive stress may play a role in some, but not all cases
◾Risk factors include being female, 20-50 years old, and participating in gymnastics
Prevention / What You Can Do At Home
Ice and Ibuprofen (check with your doctor first) can be used to relieve pain and swelling. You SHOULD NOT attempt to smash or crush the cyst.
Prognosis is good based on the fact that the cyst is harmless and in most cases does not interfere with participation in activities.
There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available. Surgery is typically only needed if there is significant pain or if the cyst is pushing on nerves in the wrist. Another treatment option, called aspiration, uses a needle to remove the fluid in the cyst. An anti-inflammatory injection is typically used along with this treatment. Immobilization of the area involved may also be used to reduce the size of the cyst.
The information on this website is meant for patient education and to provide home treatment options for some common muscular and skeletal injuries. It is not intended to replace your health care provider. Many are actually intended for use by your health care provider through referral to the website for appropriate self-care interventions. If your symptoms get worse; are not improving in two weeks despite treatment; or new unexplained symptoms develop, you should contact or follow-up with your health care provider.