Ganglion Cyst

A ganglion cyst is a sac filled with jellylike fluid that originates from a tendon sheath or joint capsule. The lump forms below the surface of the skin usually on the top of the foot. The cyst can range from the size of a pea to the sixe of a golf ball.


Trauma to the tissue or joint


  • A noticeable lump
  • Tingling or burning if cyst is touching a nearby nerve
  • Dull pain or ache—indication that the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint
  • Irritation of the top of the foot while wearing shoes

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Close monitoring—if cyst causes no pain or interference a doctor may closely watch over the cyst for a period of time
  • Shoe modifications—wearing shoes that do not rub against the cyst or cause irritation. Place a pad inside a shoe to reduce pressure on the cyst
  • Aspiration and injection—draining the fluid and then injecting a steroid medication into the affected area

When is surgery needed?

When nonsurgical treatments fail the cyst may need to be surgically removed. The recurrence rate associated with surgery is much lower than the recurrence rate experienced with aspiration and injection, draining of the cyst.

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