Definition of Ganglion Cysts
Ganglion cysts are masses of tissues filled with fluid, usually jelly-like. The term is derived from the word ‘ganglion’ which translates to ‘knot,’ describing the knotted lump of cells that develop underneath the surface of the foot’s skin.
Ganglion cysts on foot are common and are usually benign. They usually form on the top of the foot, but can develop in other areas as well. The size of a foot ganglion cyst varies throughout its lifespan – it can get either smaller or larger over time. In some cases, it can even vanish and then recur later.
Ganglion cysts can make wearing shoes very difficult.
What are the symptoms of ganglion cyst?
Some of the symptoms of ganglion cysts include obvious lumps on foot, sometimes accompanied by a burning (or at least tingling) sensation, especially if the cysts are touching some nerves. If the foot ganglion cyst is painful, it could be pushing against a joint or tendon.
What causes Ganglion Cyst?
An injury (sometimes hard to recall for patients) usually precedes the development of a ganglion cyst foot. For instance, ganglion cysts may form soon after something heavy drops on the foot.
It can also develop soon after the foot is accidentally twisted whilst walking, after extraordinary pressure is out on the tendon or joint, etc.
How to diagnose?
A simple physical examination already enables the doctor to diagnose ganglion cysts. The lump is usually visually obvious. When a cyst is depressed, it usually moves freely below the surface of the skin. Sometimes, doctors extract a small amount of fluid from the surgeon will shine a light through the cyst or remove a small amount of fluid from the foot ganglion cyst for laboratory evaluation. In some rare cases, imaging tests may be required.
What methods are available for ganglion cyst removal?
The treatment depends on the severity pf the ganglion cysts on foot. If the cyst is not painful and does not impede the patient from walking and performing other regular foot activities, the doctor may simply ask the patient to check back time and again until the cyst disappears.
Patients who are prone to ganglion cysts may be asked to wear prescription shoes, or at least anti-pressure pads that can be used to line regular shoes.
If the cyst persists, aspiration may be performed. The fluid from the cyst is drained, and a steroid medication is injected into the lump to help reduce inflammation and thwart succeeding refilling.
When all other treatment alternatives fall short or are inappropriate, surgery may be needed to remove the ganglion cyst. Cysts removed by surgery very seldom recur, but in some cases, they still do.