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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Ganglion Cysts (Digital Mucoid Cysts):

Ganglion cysts are noncancerous, fluid-filled lumps that typically develop near joints or tendons, most commonly on the hands or feet. Digital mucoid cysts often appear as small, round masses just beneath the skin's surface and may be accompanied by pain or tenderness.

Common Signs and Symptoms:

Visible lump or bump: Ganglion cysts are often noticeable under the skin, ranging in size from small to larger masses.
Pain or tenderness: Discomfort may be experienced, particularly when pressure is applied to the cyst or during movement.
Changes in skin texture: The skin over the cyst may become thin or translucent, and the lump may be filled with a clear, jelly-like fluid.

Causes and Risk Factors:


While the exact cause of ganglion cysts is not always clear, certain factors may contribute to their development:


  • Joint or tendon irritation: Repetitive use or strain on a joint or tendon may lead to the formation of a ganglion cyst.

  • Trauma or injury: Injuries that cause damage to joints or tendons may trigger the development of cysts.

  • Age and gender: Ganglion cysts are more common in women and individuals between the ages of 15 and 40.


Conservative treatment is available for a ganglion cyst. The main goal is to prevent the irritation/causing factor in the area, for example; pressure redistribution. This can be effective, however, often ganglion cyst treatment requires surgery. Surgery can range from simple aspiration (removal of the fluid), and introduction of corticosteroid to a more invasive procedure in which surgical excision is required. At our clinics we tailor a treatment plan to each patient based on best practice. If surgery is required, it can be performed on site at the clinic by the Chiropodist.

Ganglion cyst may rupture from a heavy, external force. At one time, people used heavy books to strike the cyst (hoping for it to rupture) and allow the fluid to drain into surrounding tissue. Often a Bible was used (due to weight), hence why ganglion cyst may also be referred to as a Bible Cyst. This is not recommended for obvious reasons. A cyst should always be diagnosed before it is treated – make sure there is no possibility the bump is cancerous (neoplastic). Additionally, we do not want to cause further damage to an already susceptible joint capsule, or surrounding tissue. Finally, it is simply not effective.
If a ganglion cyst is left untreated overlying Callus (hyperkeratosis) may form. This area can become extremely painful. The callus causes increased pressure – potentially causing the cyst to become bigger. The callus may also cause the cyst to open and rupture. Once opened, there is now a portal of entry for pathogens (virus, bacteria, fungus, etc) to enter; potentially causing infection. It is also highly likely that the cyst will return. Therefore, you should always see a Chiropodist/Podiatrist/Foot Specialist for a comprehensive treatment plan.
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