What are Ganglion Cysts On The Foot & How is it Treated? | Causes, Symptoms, Do’s & Don’ts of Ganglion Cysts On The Foot

What Are Ganglion Cysts On The Foot?

A Ganglion Cyst is defined as a lump that forms around tendons or joints.  A research done on Ganglion Cyst in 2017 showed that about 11% of all cysts were noted to be formed around the foot or ankle.  It was revealed that these cysts can form anywhere in the foot but were commonly seen on the top.  The size of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is quite variable and can range from the size of a pea to something as big as a golf ball.  The cyst can be both soft as well as hard to touch and is generally round in shape.  These cysts are mobile and when pushed can be easily moved beneath the skin.[1, 2, 3]

Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is seen to occur commonly in people between the age of 15 and 40 and is commonly seen in females.  These lumps are benign with malignant tendency to it.  They are fluid filled.  However, Ganglion Cyst on the Foot can be quite uncomfortable and make activities of daily living quite challenging.  There is no specific treatment required for Ganglion Cyst on the Foot and they go away on their own but sometimes treatment is required to help get rid of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.[1, 2, 3]

What Causes Ganglion Cysts On The Foot?

The root cause for Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is not yet known but generally the cysts form in areas where there has been a prior trauma or injury.  The cysts form when the synovial fluid leaks from the joints and starts accumulating beneath the skin in sacs.  The function of the synovial fluid is to lubricate the joint and tendons and prevent bones from rubbing against each other.[3]

What are the Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts On The Foot?

The primary symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot includes[3]

  • A palpable lump on the foot that may be hard or soft and mobile when pushed.[3]
  • Numbness and tingling around the affected areas in case the lump is big enough to pinch a nerve[3]
  • Pain if the cyst touches a joint or a tendon[3]
  • Sense of discomfort and irritation when wearing shoes or socks[3]

How is Ganglion Cysts On The Foot Treated?

Studies have suggested that more than 50% of cases of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot do not require any treatment and resolve spontaneously even though it may take years for this to happen and the chances of recurrence is quite high.  If there are no symptoms accompanied with Ganglion Cyst on the Foot then physician might simply adopt await and watch approach and monitor for any change in the size of the lump.[3]

Treatment is recommended only in cases where the cyst is causing significant pain and is affecting the quality of life of a person.  The treatment options for people who have symptoms due to Ganglion Cyst on the Foot include aspiration and injection.  This procedure involves draining the fluid from the cyst and shrinking its size.  A steroid will then be injected in the cyst.  This procedure may require a few session for complete relief.  However, the recurrence rate after this procedure is quite high and the patient may need repeated aspirations.[3]

The second option for treatment of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is surgery. This is done in cases where aspiration is ineffective. The surgery involves removing the cyst and part of the joint or tendon to which the cyst is attached. This provides instant relief from symptoms.  However there is high likelihood that the cyst may return at a later time.[3]

What Are The Do’s And Don’ts For Ganglion Cysts On The Foot?

There are certain home remedies that a person can try to decrease the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.  These include application on ice over the cyst for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day to calm down the inflammation.  Restriction of activities that put pressure on the foot is also recommended to decrease the symptoms.  Over the counter pain medications are also quite effective in managing the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.[3]

Some people find padding the area while wearing shoes as quite effective in managing the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.  There are certain things that one should avoid with regard to managing the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.  The person should never try and hit the cyst with an object to break it as this may damage the surrounding the tissue and moreover this is completely ineffective and causes more harm than good. It is also recommended to never pop or drain the cyst as this makes the area prone to infections and other complications.[3]

In conclusion, Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is a benign and harmless condition in which a lump forms on the foot.  This lump forms when synovial fluid from the joints and tendons leak into sacs beneath the skin and get accumulated.  Ganglion Cyst on the Foot may be discomforting but very rarely cause any other symptoms.[1, 2, 3]

Treatment-wise in more than 50% of the cases these cysts disappear on their own without any treatment.  However, in cases where the patient experiences pain and discomfort and finds it difficult to carry out activities of daily living there are certain treatment options that are available.  These include aspirating the cyst and injecting it with a steroid for faster healing.[1, 2, 3]

Additionally, surgery to remove the cyst along with a part of the joint or tendon sheath is also quite effective in dealing with the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.  However, the recurrence rate of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot is quite high and the individual may need to have repeated treatments for this condition.[1, 2, 3]

It is recommended that a person with this condition should never try to treat it by poppingor draining the cyst as it may lead to infections and unnecessary complications.  Application of ice and taking over the counter NSAIDs and pain medications are good enough to manage the symptoms of Ganglion Cyst on the Foot.[1, 2, 3]

References:

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