Ganglion Cyst

A very common disorder that affects the foot and ankle is ganglion cyst. A ganglion cyst is a pocket of fluid. Often times patients don’t have pain but rather are concerned about the appearance of the bump is formed on the foot. Ganglions can be painful if they are near or nerve or cause rubbing in the shoes.

Ganglions are fluid filled, however they can feel hard and almost like a bony bump. The fluid that is inside the ganglion is thick and viscous. So the ganglion can feel harder than fluid but they are usually movable.

Ganglion cysts often originate off of tendons. Tendons are often surrounded by a tendon sheath to provide smooth motion. When the tendon sheaths develop small holes the fluid inside the she leaks out in a pocket of tissue forms around it. This fluid filled pocket is the ganglion. Ganglion’s can also form off of joints. The joints have capsules around them. The ganglion’s format of the capsules in the same way they form out of the tendon sheaths.

Ganglion cyst can be mistaken for other cysts, fibromas or bony outgrowth. In the case of bony outgrowths, they are usually seen on x-ray. However, other types of cysts and fibromas may not be differentiated until the growth is surgically removed and then sent for pathology. Other cysts and fibromas are treated in the same manner as ganglion cysts.

Attempts are usually made to treat ganglion cysts conservatively. On first presenting to the podiatry office attempts will be made to either drain the cyst or shrink it using Cortizone. The Cortizone will decrease the cyst approximately half of the time. Sometimes when the Cortizone does shrink the ganglion it returns later.

A more successful form of treatment is surgical removal. The ganglion is removed in total during an outpatient procedure. The recurrence rate is minimal when the cyst is surgically removed.

Often if the cyst is not painful surgery is not required as long as it does not hinder any activities or wearing shoe gear. If a cyst is developing and is causing any problems you should be seen by our office for evaluation and possible treatment.