Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion Cysts Wirst & Foot (Pictures)

A ganglion (GANG-lee-un) cyst is a swelling under the skin that is filled with a thick, jelly-like substance. It is a swelling that often appears on or around joints and tendons in the hand (or sometime foot). The size of the cyst can vary over time, often becoming more inflamed if irritated. It is most frequently located around the wrist and on the fingers. Ganglion cysts form when tissues surrounding certain joints become inflamed and swell up with lubricating fluid. They can increase in size when the tissue is irritated and often can "disappear" spontaneously. These masses or cysts appear to grow sometimes but they are not tumours or cancerous.

Causes of Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion Cysts

No one knows what triggers the formation of a ganglion. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and ganglions are common among gymnasts, who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist. Because the fluid-filled sac puts pressure on the nerves that pass through the joint, some ganglion cysts may be painful. Large ganglions, even if they are not painful, are unattractive. Smaller ganglions that remain hidden under the skin (occult ganglions) may be quite painful. Some of the theories include:

  • The body responds to injury, trauma or overuse by forming an internal 'blister'.
  • Small tears in the tendon membrane or joint capsule allow the contents to squeeze out.

Signs and symptoms of Ganglion Cysts

The symptoms of a ganglion cyst include:

  • Ganglions are usually small, painless bumps, but they may be tender to the touch.
  • The lump is usually soft and immobile.
  • Accompanying pain - especially when the wrist is extended or flexed - may be present, but usually the lump is painless.
  • The affected tendon may cause a sensation of muscular weakness.
  • Other sites include the back of the knee (Bakers cyst), ankle, foot, palm and fingers.
Ganglion Cyst Wrist


Ganglion Cysts Diagnosis

The diagnosis of ganglion cyst is made by physical examination. Medical tests such as x-rays may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes, an MRI or ultrasound is needed to find a ganglion cyst hidden under the skin.

Treatment for Ganglion Cysts

Ganglions usually do not need treatment and often go away on their own. If they are painful, limit activity, or are unsightly, your health professional may recommend nonsurgical treatment, such as wearing a splint, massaging the ganglion to reduce the fluid within the bump, or draining it with a needle and syringe (aspiration). If the ganglion is painful, the doctor may be able to relieve the discomfort through surgical or other means.

Surgical treatment involves bursting the ganglion simply by putting pressure on it after puncturing it in several places with a needle or draining the jelly-like contents with a needle. A surgical procedure is regarded as unnecessary in most cases, but if the ganglion is painful and does not respond to drainage, it can be removed surgically. There may be tenderness, discomfort and swelling at the site following surgery, but normal activities can usually be resumed in two to six weeks. Surgery offers the best chance of removing the ganglion, but the cyst may return.

Tips on preventing and treating Ganglion Cysts

Since the cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, so there is no way to completely prevent the formation of ganglion cysts altogether; however, there are ways in which to aid in the prevention of the occurrence or recurrence of ganglion cyst formation. Exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility can prevent ganglions. Warming and cooling down before and after workouts may also decrease the rate of developing ganglions.


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