Ganglion Cysts are lumps that can occur in your ankles or top of the foot. They contain a jelly-like fluid and are typically round or oval. Less severe cysts may be around the size of a pea, while others may be an
inch in diameter. In mild cases, a surgeon may decide to leave it untreated and closely monitor it. However, if the cyst is painful, pressing on nerves, or restricting joint movement, it may be prescribed to treat it. However, often even when treated, the cyst will recur.
- A noticeable lump.
- Tingling or burning, if the cyst is touching a nerve.
- Dull pain or ache, this may indicate that the cyst is pressing on a nerve or joint.
- Difficulty wearing shoes due to irritation between the lump and the shoe.
- Numbness or muscle weakness.
- Gender and Age: Ganglion cysts occur most often in women between the ages of 20-40.
- Joint/Tendon Injury: Joints or tendons that have been injured in the past are more likely to develop a ganglion cyst.
- Osteoarthritis: People who have arthritis in their joints have a higher risk of developing a ganglion cyst near that joint.
Depending on the severity treatment may start by:
- Replacing your shoes with more comfortable, non-slip on ones, with proper width and depth.
- Wearing custom orthotics to increase support and help prevent recurring cysts.
- Padding/taping your foot to alleviate pressure and pain.
- Aspiration and Injection: This involves draining the fluid from the cyst and injecting a steroid medication into the mass. (With this treatment more than one session may be needed, and although this method is often successful, in many others the cyst returns.)
- Surgery is the last resort if all other methods fail, and even so the cyst may return (however the rate of a recurring cyst is lower with surgery opposed to an aspiration and injection)
- To relieve pain, consider over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, ect.) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
- What not to do: An old home remedy for a ganglion cyst was “thumping” the cyst with a heavy object. This is not a good idea as the force of the blow can damage surrounding nerves and structures. Also, do not try to “pop” the cyst yourself by puncturing it with a needle. It is unlikely to be effective and can lead to infection.