Living with a Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion are little benign sacs, or cysts, filled with liquid that usually show up as bumps on the hands and wrists, but they can also form on other areas such as feet, ankles, knees, or shoulders. They aren't cancerous. Usually, they are caused by some form of deep, long-term irritation. A ganglion can grow out of a joint capsule, which surrounds the join, or a tendon sheath, which covers the tendon. The tendon is the fibers that connect muscle to bone.

A small number of ganglion cysts are caused by a defect inside of a joint that promotes irritation. While it is extremely possible, it is only the cause of a small number of these cysts. The cysts can range dramatically in size. The size can be affected by the joint that it is located on, the amount of interstitial space it has to grow, and the length of time it has had to grow.
Most ganglion pop up suddenly. The size of them ranges from very small to bigger than a cherry. They might grow as there's more activity and the sac collects more fluid, or they might also shrink and could also break and go away on its own with no outside assistance.

Ganglion can develop on anyone, but the most common age to be affected by them is 15-40. Children usually don't develop them but on the chance that they do it will usually resolve itself in a very short period of time.

What causes Ganglions?

Though experts do not know the precise cause of ganglions, they may be linked to a number of internal and external factors including:

  • Swelling of the tendon or joint
  • Irritation inside of a joint.
  • Recent injury
  • Overusing the joint, or using it for strenuous exercise.
  • The development of arthritis.

What are the symptoms?

Ganglions usually show up as little bumps that don't hurt and in most cases, don't have any other symptoms. If it puts pressure on surrounding nerves it may cause a tingling feeling in your fingers, or hands. Some cysts can also lessen your grip strength or affect joint motion. However, other than being visually awkward in appearance, do not bother the person, or the people around them.

How are they diagnosed?

A ganglion is typically diagnosed by the way it looks, its color, and its location.

The need for an x-ray is possible if your doctor believes you may have arthritis or possible injury in the affected joint, and they might remove some fluid for further testing. In rare cases, they might also request an MRI or ultrasound to be done.

How are Ganglions Treated?

Treatment usually isn't necessary for ganglions as they usually disappear on their own, but you may need to see a doctor they cause discomfort or other symptoms, or if you are not positive that what you are suffering from is a ganglion cyst.