Could Your Wrist and Hand Pain Be Caused by a Ganglion Cyst?

It can be alarming to find a new lump or bump on your body, especially if it causes additional symptoms, such as pain or tingling. But, masses like these on your wrists, fingers, ankles, or toes are often ganglion cysts. 

While ganglion cysts are a type of tumor, these growths aren’t cancerous or life-threatening. However, they can cause significant pain and discomfort and interfere with joint movement. And, since they can be up to an inch in diameter, some people find them visually unsightly.

At Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, Thomas F. Saylor, MD, is renowned for providing personalized care for people of all ages. When patients see Dr. Saylor about hand and wrist pain, one of the most common causes is ganglion cysts. In this blog, Dr. Saylor explains what ganglion cysts are and how they can be treated.

The problem with ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts — which typically resemble the shape of a balloon — develop underneath the skin along a tendon or joint, most often in the hands or wrists. These growths contain a gel-like fluid and can vary in size. In some cases, these cysts can feel firm, and in other cases, they can feel soft and move easily beneath the skin. They can also appear suddenly and without warning and grow larger with time. 

Common locations for ganglion cysts include:

The precise cause of ganglion cysts isn’t known, but they seem to form where tissue surrounding a tendon or joint bulges out of place. 

Recognizing your risks

Ganglion cysts are a common problem, but some factors can increase your chances of developing them, such as:

Women also have ganglion cysts three times more often than men.

Finding relief for ganglion cysts

Many ganglion cysts go away on their own with time and don’t require treatment. However, even a pea-sized ganglion cyst can create unwanted pressure in the area, which can lead to inflammation, swelling, discomfort, and decreased range of motion. They can also press on nearby nerves, which can cause symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, and weakness. 

If you have a persistent mass that causes uncomfortable symptoms, Dr. Saylor could recommend a variety of solutions, such as:

You shouldn’t attempt at-home treatments, such as hitting the cyst with a heavy object or trying to pop it, because this could cause structural damage, an infection, or other complications.

Is a ganglion cyst giving you problems? Dr. Saylor can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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