Ganglion Cyst

A ganglion cyst describes a round, fluid-filled sac located at a joint capsule or a tendon. It is benign, so don’t typically cause any harm, and in the lower limbs occur most frequently on the top of the foot. They can have a jelly-like feel and vary in size, sometimes presenting as visible lumps and others being too small to detect.  

How is it caused?

Ganglion cysts develop from the accumulation of fluid within the sac. There is no definite cause of a ganglion cyst but it is thought to be linked to injury – both acute trauma and repetitive stress over time.  

What are the symptoms?

While some cysts may remain asymptomatic, symptoms may include:
  • Visible lump
  • Pain
  • Discomfort when wearing shoes that press on the lump
  • Numbness, tingling or pins and needles when a cyst presses on a nearby nerve

How is it treated?

Ganglion cysts often disappear on their own without intervention. If the cyst is not causing any pain or discomfort, it may simply just need monitoring over time. Shoes may need to be re-evaluated to choose those that do not press on the cyst and bring on any pain or discomfort. Activities that cause noticeable irritation to the cyst may also need to be modified. If the cyst needs to be reduced in size, it may be aspirated or surgically removed, though this does not guarantee that the cyst will not return.