Has a big lump recently appeared on your foot? If it’s soft, smooth looking, and moves around when you touch it, you could have an uncomfortable soft tissue mass called a ganglion cyst.
Ganglion cysts are benign, but they can cause discomfort and other problems that get in the way of your life. Find out more from Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, of Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle Mission Viejo, California, about how ganglion cysts can affect your feet.
Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled sacs that appear next to different joints in your body, including your ankles and toes. They can appear anywhere on your foot but most commonly form on top.
These cysts are usually soft to the touch and range from being as small as a pea to as large as a golf ball. Sometimes, ganglion cysts appear in an area where you experienced trauma, but often their cause is unknown.
Anyone can get a ganglion cyst, but they’re most common in women aged between 15 and 40. If you’ve previously had one, you’re more likely to get a ganglion cyst again.
If you have a ganglion cyst on your foot, you can expect to experience at least some of these symptoms:
It can be difficult to distinguish ganglion cysts from other soft tissue masses. Dr. Rambacher confirms the soft tissue mass is a ganglion cyst with a diagnostic examination and tests.
Ganglion cysts aren’t cancerous or dangerous but can cause other problems on your feet. Sometimes, ganglion cysts are painful enough to limit your activities.
If your ganglion cyst is located near a nerve, it can cause you to feel an uncomfortable tingling sensation. This comes from the cyst pressing on the nerve.
Even if your ganglion cyst isn’t constantly painful, it can feel irritating when pressing against shoes, causing discomfort and aching. Gangling cysts can get bigger over time, making it increasingly difficult to find shoes that comfortably fit the cyst.
After Dr. Rambacher evaluates and diagnoses your ganglion cyst, he recommends treatment based on the size and severity of the cyst, as well as whether the cyst is causing you pain. If the cyst isn’t bothering you and is small, he usually recommends continuing to monitor the cyst. Some ganglion cysts disappear on their own.
If the cyst is painful, large enough to make it difficult to wear shoes, or otherwise disrupts your quality of life, Dr. Rambacher can remove it with a quick, simple in-office procedure called aspiration and injection. To remove the ganglion cyst, he drains the cyst, then injects it with corticosteroid medication.
In rare cases where other treatments don’t work, Dr. Rambacher can remove the ganglion cyst surgically. This procedure can make your cyst go away for good if it keeps recurring.
For diagnosis and treatment of a ganglion cyst, contact us at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle to schedule a consultation.