What Causes a Ganglion Cyst on Your Foot and Ankle?

As you go about your life, you can develop irritating growths on your feet and ankles that cause you discomfort or pain. These growths can have different causes, but frequently they’re non-cancerous soft-tissue masses.

According to board-certified podiatrist Thomas Rambacher, DPM of Mission Viejo, California-based Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle, ganglion cysts are one of the most common soft tissue lumps that occur on your foot and ankles. While not usually dangerous, these cysts can cause pain and impact your daily functioning.

Understand what’s behind foot and ankle ganglion cysts, and what to do if you discover one on your foot.

What is a ganglion cyst?

Ganglion cysts are a type of fluid-filled sac you can get on your foot or ankle, as well as other joints throughout your body. They occur when your ligaments and joints secrete fluid.

You can get a ganglion cyst on the top or bottom of your foot, and the cysts can vary in size from small to large. Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous and not typically dangerous, but they can cause pain.

Causes of ganglion cysts

It’s not known exactly what causes ganglion cysts to form. However, it’s hypothesized these are some of the likely reasons you might get a ganglion cyst on your ankle or foot:

Ganglion cyst symptoms

Many of the symptoms of a ganglion cyst are similar to other soft tissue masses. If you have any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with our doctors at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle to clarify which type of cyst you have.

In general, you’re more likely to have a ganglion cyst if you have some or all of these symptoms and are in your 20s to 40s. Women are also more likely to get ganglion cysts than men. 

Treating your ganglion cyst

While ganglion cysts are rarely serious, you should always get any unusual lump on your foot evaluated at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle. Dr. Rambacher and his team can perform an examination to find the cause and recommend the best treatment course.

If your ganglion cyst isn’t causing you pain and isn’t interfering with your quality of life, you might not need any treatment, and the cyst might go away on its own. In these cases, our team continues to monitor your ganglion cyst and can help you find footwear that doesn’t irritate your cyst.

When the ganglion cyst is painful or makes it hard to move around, our team can usually remove the cyst through a nonsurgical procedure. This involves draining the fluid from your cyst using steroid medication that helps shrink the remainder of the cyst.

If you suspect you have a ganglion cyst or another kind of soft tissue mass on your foot or ankle, make an appointment at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle online or by calling 949-916-0077.

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