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    What is Ganglion Cyst? Causes, Treatment & Symptoms


    What is Ganglion Cyst? Causes, Treatment & Symptoms

    Updated on 3 November 2023

    New mothers, athletes, and individuals with arthritis are prone to swellings on their wrists, hands, knees, ankles and feet, termed a Ganglion cyst. This article discusses a Ganglion cyst, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

    What is a Ganglion cyst?

    A Ganglion cyst is a swelling or a fluid-filled lump of soft tissue appearing over or around certain body parts. Common locations for a Ganglion cyst include the wrist, Ganglion Cyst on the Finger, foot, knee, and ankle. Out of these, Wrist Ganglion Cyst is the most common among new mothers.

    The size, appearance, and shape of a Ganglion cyst may vary according to the location and chronicity of the condition.

    What are the causes of a Ganglion cyst?

    Ganglion Cyst Causes do not include a definite pathology or a mechanism. Common reasons include:

    • Overuse of a body part during daily activities

    • Repetitive strain

    • Trauma or injury

    • Irritation or friction due to contact with a hard surface

    • Osteoarthritis

    Symptoms of Ganglion cyst

    Ganglion Cyst symptoms may vary according to where the cyst is present in the body.

    Common symptoms include:

    • Pain and discomfort

    • Tingling sensation

    • Difficulty or, in some cases, inability to do daily activities

    • Tingling numbness may be experienced the Ganglion Cyst is near or on a nerve

    How does a doctor diagnose a Ganglion cyst?

    Diagnosis of a Ganglion cyst is based on a thorough history of the onset of symptoms and daily activities done by the individual. This will reveal a possible cause of developing swelling and pain in the affected area.

    The doctor will order tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as:

    • X-ray

    • MRI

    • Ultrasound imaging

    • Analysis of fluid within the cyst

    Ganglion cyst treatment

    A Ganglion cyst resolves within time but may require treatment for symptoms like pain and swelling. Some of the treatment measures include:

    1. Ganglion Cyst Aspiration

    The doctor will drain the fluid from the cyst with a needle and syringe. The procedure is mild to moderately painful. Pain relieving medicines will be prescribed after the procedure.

    2. Surgical removal of the cyst

    In some cases, the cyst may not be visible on examination but is confirmed on investigations.

    3. Pain management

    Medicines are prescribed to reduce pain and swelling in a non-surgical treatment protocol.

    4. Precautions and other measures

    The affected part should rest through minimal activity, supportive braces and icing. It is also advisable to wear comforting shoes for a Ganglion Cyst on Foot and ankle. Wrist and knee braces are available for Ganglion Cyst of Knee and Wrist Ganglion Cyst.

    Other treatments may include Ganglion Cyst Ayurvedic Treatment, Physiotherapy, and Ganglion Cyst Home Treatment. However, It is advisable to consult a doctor before deciding on any treatment.

    How to prevent a Ganglion cyst?

    Preventive measures for a Ganglion cyst are as follows:

    • Avoid repetitive movements at a particular joint.

    • Take frequent breaks to avoid muscle and joint strain.

    • New mothers must adopt ergonomic modifications like using supports and cribs to handle their children.

    • Avoid repetitive contact with hard surfaces that may lead to friction injuries


    A Ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled round sac that develops on the wrist, foot, ankle, fingers, and knee. It generally occurs due to repetitive strain on muscles and joints in new mothers, athletes, and individuals with arthritis. It usually resolves by itself but may sometimes require medical or surgical treatment.


    1. Is Ganglion Cyst painful?

    A Ganglion cyst may be asymptomatic in some individuals but some may experience intense pain, swelling, discomfort and difficulty in daily activities.

    1. Is Ganglion Cyst dangerous?

    A Ganglion cyst by itself is not dangerous unless it is present on a nerve or be the initial signs of a tumor beneath.

    1. Can a Ganglion cyst spread to other body parts?

    A Ganglion Cyst is benign, meaning it is localised and does not spread to other body parts.

    1. Can I do exercise for the wrist Ganglion Cyst?

    Exercise is not advisable for wrist Ganglion Cyst or any other cyst. Repetitive movements should be avoided and it should be allowed to heal with adequate precautions.

    1. Which doctor is best for a Ganglion cyst?

    An orthopedic doctor is qualified to deal with any type of Ganglion cyst.


    1. Gregush RE, Habusta SF. (2022). Ganglion Cyst.
    2. Minotti, P, Taras, J.S. (2002). Ganglion cysts of the wrist.

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    Written by

    Roohi Kalra

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