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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Ganglion Cysts: General Thoughts and Treatments

Ganglion Cysts


The top 4 treatments for ganglion cysts are:

1.  Ice massage the ganglion cyst with increasing pressure 2-3 times a day to see if you can shrink and break down 

2.  Have the ganglion injected and drained, typically a small amount of cortisone is used if tendons can be avoided.

3.  If the cyst is resistant, and giving symptoms that give you some disability, have the cyst surgically removed.  

4.  Before trying surgery, see if 8 sessions of physical therapy can break it down with ultrasound and deep tissue work.

     Many patients present to my office with lumps on their foot that either appeared suddenly or gradually grew. These can be ganglion cysts, formed by fluid leaking from tendons or joints. They are totally benign, and occasionally have to be surgically removed. But most patients are told to ice massage them in a circular manner 2 times per day to see if they can break them down. Before any thought of surgery, the ganglions should be drained in an office setting, one or two times. If the ganglions are not too superficial, then cortisone can be injected deep to the skin and away from tendons after the draining to further increase the chance that they will not return. If you do get them drained, the patient needs to spend one month with a compression wrap and extra padding over the ganglion to help prevent it from refilling up again. Here is an example of a ganglion from a recent patient. Like some patients, this patient also had a ganglion on his wrist that did need surgery. Ganglion patients can get other ganglions.



These benign lumps are not attached to the skin, are soft to pressure, and can only be documented on MRI or ultrasound. X-rays should be negative. Since ganglion cysts can develop from herniations in the ligaments of an arthritic joint, X-rays may show boney changes under the ganglion. If you can use ice massage to shrink them, routine ice massage 2 to 3 times per week may help keep them from coming back. 

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.