Ganglion cysts are fluid filled, soft masses that appear near or on the joints such as the wrist, hand, shoulder, and foot. They are most commonly found on the hand and wrist and tend to affect women between the ages of 30 and 40. The exact cause is not known, but it seems that often trauma or injury to the area is a factor in their development. They can range in size from very small (pea-like) to rather large (the size of a golf ball). They are typically painless but can cause pain if they press on a nerve due to size or position.
How do you get ganglion cysts?
The fluid that fills the cyst is similar to the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints. Some researchers theorize that tiny tears form in the tissue above a tendon or joint and the fluid leaks out. This is why it is believed that they form due to injury.
They can be associated with repetitive movement like typing. It can also cause pain at the site of the cyst. That pain can remain in the area where the cyst is located, or it can radiate through the hand or arm. Sometimes its position or size can inhibit movement and even make movement painful. The cyst itself is not painful, though. It is not a tumor, and there are no health implications associated with its presence. Ganglion cysts are also not contagious, and they do not spread.
How do you get rid of ganglion cysts?
Getting rid of ganglion cysts is fairly simple. The old-fashioned remedy for getting rid of ganglion cysts was to hit it with a heavy object, such as a big book. This would cause the cyst to rupture so that the fluid would be released, and the lump would go away. If there was any pain associated with the cyst, it would disappear as well.
Doctors often aspirate a ganglion cyst, inserting a needle directly into it and withdrawing the fluid it contains. The one drawback is that this method has a fairly high rate of recurrence. It is usually not a permanent solution although it does relieve any associated pain.
Dependent upon clinical findings, surgery may be an option. This is a simple procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia in most cases. Those cysts that are located near delicate structures such as peripheral nerves or arteries are removed in an outpatient setting. However, if the cyst is not bothersome, observation may be the desired treatment.
At Florida Hand Center we value our patients and strive to provide the best care possible. Whether you need treatment for a ganglion cyst or you are interested in our free hand screening we are here for you. Pain and immobility don’t need to hold you back from doing the things you love. Call our office today to schedule your appointment and get back to your life.