A ganglion cyst is fluid-filled swelling on the hand or wrist. But, is a ganglion cyst painful? Scroll on to learn more about ganglion cysts and your treatment options.
What is a Ganglion Cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled swelling that grows near joints. In many instances, the bump develops on the back of the hand, fingers or wrist.
These essentially harmless growths are non-cancerous. This is because they are the result of fluid leaking from nearby joints. The liquid – known as synovial fluid – lubricates joints to ensure smooth movement of bones over one another.
However, some factors cause the synovial fluid to leak out of the joint. Instead, it builds up under the skin with no release, causing a sizeable fluid-filled sac. For this reason, ganglion cysts aren’t rock hard but relatively soft and pliant.
In addition, these swellings are more common in women than men aged 20 to 40 years.
Is a Ganglion Cyst Painful?
Some people suffering from ganglion cysts can feel pain and discomfort. This is primarily because the swelling grows around joints that are often in use.
Therefore, when you try to move your wrist or hands during everyday activities, the discomfort can grow into pain with continuous joint movement.
What are the Symptoms of a Ganglion Cyst?
You might not notice a ganglion cyst if it doesn’t grow into a sizeable lump on your wrist or finger. However, you can keep an eye out for some signs and symptoms of potential ganglion cyst development.
- Pain and discomfort at the back of the wrist or base of the affected finger
- A tingling sensation around the affected joint
- Reduced or limited mobility in the wrist, finger or other joints in question
- Numbness around the affected area
A ganglion cyst can grow and subside independently, requiring no intervention. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor to discuss options.
How To Treat Ganglion Cysts
In many instances, ganglion cysts can shrink without applying any remedy. However, this gradual process takes time. Therefore, you should consult your doctor to provide advice on getting rid of the cyst.
Here are some options for treating ganglion cysts:
- Rest the affected joint: Because the swelling might result from an injured joint, your doctor can advise you to rest the joint. That is, take a break from repetitive actions involving the joint.
This gives the tissues within the joint time to heal, sealing it to prevent fluid from escaping.
- Wear a wrist brace: In some cases, preventing your wrist or hand from moving inadvertently might be challenging. Your doctor will recommend a wrist brace to immobilise the joint, allowing the swelling to subside.
- Ganglion cyst aspiration: If you feel significant pain and discomfort interfering with your quality of life, your doctor can offer to aspirate the cyst. This involves inserting a syringe into the cyst and extracting the fluid within.
- Ganglion cyst surgery: Some cases are more complicated, requiring a more invasive procedure. Indeed, sometimes the cyst might reappear when using non-surgical measures.
In such instances, your doctor can recommend ganglion cyst surgery. This procedure involves cutting out the cyst and the stalk connecting it to the joint or surrounding tissues.
Treating Ganglion Cysts at The Harley Clinic
If you’re suffering from painful and uncomfortable swellings on your hands and wrists, book a consultation today with a hand specialist at The Harley Clinic.