Ganglionic Cyst: Toe, Foot & Ankle Treatment 2020!
Do you have a ganglionic cyst on your toe, foot or ankle? 99% of the time this is a safe clear fluid that can be drained.
Table of Contents
What Is A Ganglionic Cyst :
- Ganglion cysts are swellings of fluid on top of foot joints such as the big toe joint, the top of the foot and the ankle.
- A cyst by definition is a sac filled with fluid and it can feel hard or soft.
- Ganglionic cysts of the foot, wrists or hands are usually not dangerous.
- They usually occur between the ages of 20-40 years of age.
Ganglion Cyst Symptoms:
- Most ganglion cysts in the toe, foot or ankle are usually painless.
- They are usually a round soft or hard mass.
- They should not hurt when you push on them.
- They can cause irratation in shoes or slippers.
- Most cysts are on the top part of the foot, or front of the ankle joint.
Ganglion Cyst Causes:
- Ganglionic cysts can be though of as a protrusion of fluid from a joint that is still surrounded by a sac of membranous tissue.
- Think of this like squeezing a water balloon with your hands in all areas except a small pocket, that area of the balloon with pouch outward- this is what is happening with your joint.
- A thin canal of fluid forms and pouches outside the joint.
- This joint fluid is called synovial fluid.
Most Common Locations of a Ganglion Cyst:
- Where the fingers and the hand meet.
- The tips of the fingernails and toenails- this is called a mucous cutaneous cyst ( Mucous Cyst).
- The outside of the knee.
- The outside of the ankle.
- The top of the foot.
- The big toe joint.
Ganglion Cyst Treatment Overview:
- Treatment could be as easy as in office cyst aspiration that takes 15 minutes.
- Or it could require surgery that creates an incision and requires a few weeks of healing time.
Home Treatment For Fluid Cysts:
Home treatment can be difficult without danger:
- A ganglion cyst is difficult to treat at home since it is under the skin.
- But this ganglion cyst will almost always eventually come back.
- The only true cure is to have your podiatrist perform a ganglion cyst removal surgery of a joint aspiration.
- Even though a ganglionic cyst is usually harmless except for the pain, there is always a chance that this could be a cancerous tumor such as a synovial sarcoma(very low odds).
Home products for a ganglion cyst:
- There are really no helpful products to prevent a ganglion cyst.
Home remedies for ganglion cysts:
- The ganglionic cyst has the nickname “Bible Cyst” because hitting the cyst really hard with a bible made it go back temporarily.
- We do not recommend this treatment as it can be dangerous.
- The other home remedies online are not proven and can be dangerous.
Podiatrist Treatment of a Ganglion Cyst:
- A podiatrist is a foot and ankle specialist well trained in treating ganglion cysts in the foot and ankle.
- In the wrist, you should consider an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the hand and wrist.
- X-ray is essential to rule out other types of tumors- Don’t mess around with this one, make sure its actually a ganglionic cyst.
- Ultrasound will confirm that the mass is fluid filled.
- MRI can also be ordered if there is difficulty confirming the mass with an ultrasound, although this is rarely necessary.
Treatment Options in the Office:
Ganglion cyst aspiration:
- A podiatrist can perform aspiration of the ganglion cyst in the foot.
- An in office aspiration can lead to minimal pain and an almost instant resolution of the problem
- Watch the video at the beginning to see how this is performed.
- This leads to a rapid recovery time, but higher recurrence of ganglion cyst formation.
What to Expect After the Aspiration of a Ganglion Cyst in the Foot
- After the aspiration of the ganglion cyst, you will likely be free of the ganglionic cyst for some time; but eventually it is almost guaranteed to come back.
- The more reliable or treatment cure for a ganglion cyst in the foot is intra-operative surgery.
Ganglionic Cyst Removal Surgery by a Podiatrist:
- The only way to keep a large ganglionic cyst from removal is excision.
- The healing time is usually very good as the incision is usually not from the bottom of the foot and you can start walking immediately after the ganglion cyst removal surgery.
- You will likely need to wear a bandage for at least 7-10 days and maybe a surgical shoe to prevent irritation of the wound.
Get Great Shoes:
- Properly measure yourself for your shoe using a Brannock Device at a athletic shoe store.
- Or watch out shoe fitting video.
- Getting some extra depth shoes and skip lacing should be enough to avoid putting pressure on cyst or bump.
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from your midfoot and top of the foot (big toe joint).
- Relieving pressure may help it go away.
- This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis or any other type of heel injury.
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Other ganglion cyst treatment resources:
The recovery time depends on a variety of factors, but if it is on the top of the foot(which it almost is), you can start walking almost immediately and take the sutures out in about 2 weeks.
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.
And don’t forget… GREAT shoes & orthotics: