Ganglion Cyst in the Big Toe Joint: Causes & Best Treatment 2019

Do you have a ganglion cyst in the big toe joint? This is a clear mucous like fluid that is safe and non-cancerous 99+% of the time.



Overview of a ganglion cyst in the big toe joint:


  • A ganglion cyst in the big toe joint as well as anywhere in the foot is a common cause of foot discomfort.
  • If you have a big bump on your big toe joint or your foot and you think it is a ganglion cyst- you can try pushing on it hard and seeing if it moves around, but even if it is hard it can still be a ganglion cyst.
  • If it is hard, this may be a bunion or big toe spur.
  • These are usually harmless sacs of fluid, but you should definitely go see a podiatrist to make sure that it is not any type of cancerous mass.


Ganglion cyst big toe joint drainage


What is a Ganglion Cyst in the Foot and Great  Toe Joint?


  • The ganglion cyst in the great toe joint is the protrusion of a tendon lubricant known as synovial fluid.
  • One large cyst or many smaller cysts can appear that look like one large lump.
  • This fluid is in a balloon like sac that is normal surrounded on all sides by a joint capsule, but if there is a gap in the joint capsule it leaks out like a balloon that is being squeezed on.
  • This usually forms a small 1-3 cm sac.


Ganglion Cyst of the Great Toe Joint Symptoms:


  • Usually but not always painful.
  • Can compress nerves, leading to numbness burning and tingling.
  • Can compress blood vessels.
  • 1-3cm Lump.
  • These lumps can cause joint irritation and pain.
  • Can change in size with motion and time of day.
  • Can be hard or soft.

Is it dangerous?


  • These ganglion cysts are not harmful, in the big toe joint they can  become very annoying and rub against your socks and shoes, but there is no real danger.
  • Ganglion cysts are very common in the foot, this is a condition that we see very frequently in our office, this is usually something not to be very concerned about.
  • These are not cancerous, but the only way to be 100% sure is to get some imaging and a biopsy of the cyst.



Who is most likely to get them?


  • They are much more common in women, frequently they can occur between age 20-50 years.



Ganglionic Cyst Treatment Guide



Where are ganglion cysts the most common besides the big toe joint?


Ganglion cysts can also be found commonly in:

  • The fingers and the palm of the hand. These are usually small bumps.
  • The finger tip or the tip of the small toes. These can be known as mucocutaneous cysts.
  • Around the back of the knee.
  • Around the ankle.
  • The top of the foot. This can look like a lump or bone spur.




Is a Ganglion Cyst in the Big Toe Joint Dangerous?


  • Ganglionic Cysts are not Dangerous, but they can very easily be mistaken for a dangerous tumor, so always get them checked out!
  • The only way to confirm this is to get imaging such as an ultrasound, an X-ray and potentially an MRI.
  • The only way to know 100% is to get a bone biopsy.
  • Find out more about toe, toenail and foot cancer.
  • They can become very irritating and uncomfortable in your shoes as well. They can also change in size which is very disconcerting!




Ganglion cyst on foot and toe treatment:


  • In the past these used to be called bible bumps.
  • A bible was used to smash them back into place.
  • This is no longer the way to go.
  • Just go see your podiatrist and be safe!
  • Sometimes the cysts can disappear all by themselves.


Ganglion cyst on toe, knuckle, foot and ankle examination:


  • A physical exam by a podiatrist is the best way to make sure that it actually is a ganglion cyst.
  • The podiatrist will usually try to image the cyst first with an X-ray or possibly even an ultrasound.
  • The podiatrist may take an aspiration of the cyst.
  • Sometimes is there is a concern, a ganglion cyst biopsy may be performed.
  • If there is further concern or worry, an MRI may be orderd to solve this problem.


Ganglion Cyst Removal in Toe, Knuckle, Foot and Ankle:


Ganglion cysts can also occur in the toe, toe knuckle, foot and ankle.

  • There are many different ways to remove these toe and foot cysts with varying levels of success.
  • Ganglion cysts on the big toe joint, the smaller toes and the foot can disappear all on their own.
  • Given enough time they can disappear, sometimes we even book a patient for surgery and the day of the surgery the cyst is gone!
  • Aspiration can be performed in the offce to drain the cyst.
  • We can also inject a steroid into the joint at the same time for higher rates of relief.
  • The rate of keeping away for good is usually under 50%.
  • But it does make sense to sample the fluid to make sure your ganglion cyst is not something for dangerous.


Ganglion Cyst Foot and Toe Surgery:


Ganglion cyst foot surgery can sometimes be an option if draining it numerous times does not work and it causes constant pain.

  • An incision is usually made directly over the cyst.
  • The cyst is then excised completely with spreading scissors.
  • Electrocautery can then be used to burn the stalk of the cyst as it connects to the joint.
  • Ganglion cyst foot surgery is not perfect, but the rates are about 80-90% success rate over the longer term.


Ganglion Cyst of the Big Toe Joint Complete Treatment Guide

-Click on the above link for the complete home treatment guide.


Can a ganglion cyst be hard?


  • A ganglion cyst in the foot and toe is usually hard.
  • It can usually be mobile, but if not, this really does not mean much.


For more on a Ganglion Cyst in the Big Toe Joint



Consider Plantar Fibroma:

  • Consider a plantar fibroma as a cause of the lump on the bottom of your foot.
  • We frequently see patients present with this condition believing it is a ganglion cyst.