What is a Ganglion Cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a benign (noncancerous) lump or sac-like swelling that most commonly occurs on the tissues that line the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. They also may occur in the ankles and feet. They are usually harmless. Ganglion cysts are the most common cyst of the hands and wrists.


A ganglion cyst usually appears round or oval in shape and are filled with a jelly-like fluid. Ganglion cysts may be small or large. The larger cysts are usually about an inch in diameter. If a ganglion cyst grows near a nerve and puts pressure on that nerve, they can be painful. Depending on where they are growing, they may disrupt a person’s normal movement, especially within their joints.

People with ganglion cysts may have the condition but never have any other symptoms besides them physically being there. It is unclear as to what causes ganglion cysts to develop. They usually end up rupturing and clearing up on their own without treatment. If a person develops a ganglion cyst that grows large and causes pain or interferes with joint movement, they may require treatment. If treatment is needed, the treatment usually involves removing fluid from the cysts with a needle or surgically removing the cyst.

Ganglion cysts are mainly characterized by three factors: location, shape and size, and the level of pain. In regards to location, the most common places for ganglion cysts to develop are along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. The next most common areas are the ankles and feet, although these cysts can occur near other joints as well. In regards to shape and size, ganglion cysts appear round or oval and are usually less than an inch in diameter. Some ganglion cysts are so small that people don’t even know they have them. The size of a ganglion cyst can also fluctuate. They usually get bigger when you use the affected joint for repetitive motions. In regards to pain, ganglion cysts usually are painless. However, if a cyst puts pressure on a nerve it can cause pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

The risk factors that may increase your risk of ganglion cysts include:

·         Sex. They are more common among women than men.

·         Age. They are most common age to develop them is between the ages of 20 and 30.

·         Having osteoarthritis.

·         Having a joint or tendon injury.