A ganglion cyst or “lump” is a common benign tumor seen in both the hands and the feet. This lesion will typically arise in communication with either a joint or tendon sheath (the anatomic structure that surrounds a tendon). The exact reason why they develop is not fully understood but it could be related to a traumatic event.
Patients will typically complain of an enlarging mass that may or may not be painful. They are typically more painful if it occurs on a weight bearing surface or if there is pressure from the shoe. They are usually not found on the bottom of the foot. Ultrasound and x-ray can help further characterize the nature of any soft tissue mass. Dr. Nodelman does have an ultrasound unit conveniently located in his office at District Foot and Ankle.
A number of treatment options do exist. The first would be doing nothing and simply monitoring the mass for changes in size or other characteristics (especially if it is pain-free). Other options include aspiration of the mass. This means sticking a needle inside the mass to remove the fluid produced by it. The color and texture is usually clear and highly gelatinous. This is characteristic of ganglion cysts. Because there is a membrane that surrounds the cyst and produces this clear fluid, there is a higher chance of recurrence of the mass if treated through aspiration.
The most definitive means of treating a ganglion cyst is through surgical excision. This allows for the surrounding membrane to be removed and decreases the likelihood of the mass from returning.
Surgical management is carried out in a sterile operating room environment at a local hospital. Sedation and local anesthesia is used for patient comfort.
The incision typically heals in 2-3 weeks and patients can in most cases expect to return to baseline activities around 1 month after surgery.
If you think you have a ganglionic cyst, book an appointment with Dr. Lonny Nodelman at District Foot and Ankle today for a thorough evaluation and to see which treatment options are best for you.