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Ganglion cysts are noncancerous, fluid-filled lumps that typically develop near joints or tendons, most commonly on the hands or feet. Digital mucoid cysts often appear as small, round masses just beneath the skin's surface and may be accompanied by pain or tenderness.

Common Signs and Symptoms:

Visible lump or bump: Ganglion cysts are often noticeable under the skin, ranging in size from small to larger masses.
Pain or tenderness: Discomfort may be experienced, particularly when pressure is applied to the cyst or during movement.
Changes in skin texture: The skin over the cyst may become thin or translucent, and the lump may be filled with a clear, jelly-like fluid.

Causes and Risk Factors:

While the exact cause of ganglion cysts is not always clear, certain factors may contribute to their development:


  • Joint or tendon irritation: Repetitive use or strain on a joint or tendon may lead to the formation of a ganglion cyst.

  • Trauma or injury: Injuries that cause damage to joints or tendons may trigger the development of cysts.

  • Age and gender: Ganglion cysts are more common in women and individuals between the ages of 15 and 40.


In some cases, particularly if the cyst is small and asymptomatic, a routine monitoring approach may be recommended. Ganglion cysts can spontaneously resolve or remain stable without intervention. Splinting or immobilizing the affected joint can help reduce irritation and pressure on the cyst, potentially leading to shrinkage or resolution over time.


A chiropodist may use a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst (aspiration). While this can provide temporary relief, cysts often recur after aspiration alone. After aspiration, injecting a corticosteroid medication into the cyst can help reduce inflammation and prevent recurrence in some cases.

Surgical Excision

If conservative treatments fail to provide relief or if the cyst recurs persistently, surgical removal may be recommended. The procedure involves excising the cyst and, if necessary, addressing any underlying joint or tendon issues contributing to its formation.

Without Treatment
If left untreated, a cyst can potentially lead to various complications or exacerbate existing symptoms including:

Persistent pain: Cysts can cause discomfort, particularly if they press against nearby structures such as nerves or blood vessels. Without treatment, the pain may worsen over time, affecting daily activities and quality of life.

Increased size: Cysts may continue to grow larger if left untreated, potentially becoming more noticeable or causing increased pressure on surrounding tissues and organs.

Risk of rupture: Depending on the type of cyst, there is a risk that it may rupture spontaneously. This can lead to inflammation, infection, and the spread of cyst contents into surrounding tissues, potentially causing further complications.

Infection: If a cyst becomes infected, it can lead to localized inflammation, redness, warmth, and increased pain. In severe cases, the infection may spread, causing systemic symptoms such as fever and malaise.

Impaired function: Cysts located near joints, tendons, or other anatomical structures can restrict movement and impair function. Over time, this limitation may worsen if the cyst continues to grow or causes damage to surrounding tissues.

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