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Ganglion Cyst

Overview

If you have a noticeable lump on the palm of your hand or the top of the end joint of the finger, fear not, it’s not cancerous and in most cases they’re harmless. A ganglion cyst, filled with fluid, can disappear or change size over time. This cyst grows out of the tissues and rises out of the joint like a balloon. Inside the cyst is a jelly-like fluid that’s similar to the fluid that lubricates your joints. You may notice the cyst increase in size with increased wrist activity or decrease in size with rest. These cysts don’t require treatment unless they’re painful, interfere with function, or have an unpleasant appearance. The size of these cysts can be as small as a pea-size but grow as large as an inch in diameter.

These occur in women more than men, and younger people between the ages of 15-40 years old. Gymnasts are at an increased risk of having this condition due to the frequent stress applied to their wrists. If your ganglion cyst is located on the nerves you may experience pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. However, if your cyst isn’t located on any nerves you likely won’t experience any other symptoms other than the visible bump of the cyst.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Ganglion Cyst

There are several nonsurgical treatments for the ganglion cyst:

  • Observation.​ In an effort to avoid unnecessary surgery, watch the ganglion cyst making sure you don’t notice any strange changes. Your cyst may disappear in time.
  • Immobilization.​ With observation, a splint or brace will keep your wrist immobile. This will provide time and space for your cyst to disappear. This may also decrease your pain.
  • Exercises. Exercises will strengthen your wrist and improve your range of motion.
  • Aspiration.​ The cyst fluid can be drained if it causes a great deal of pain or limits your activities.