Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled cysts that most commonly occur on the back of the wrist. Ganglion cysts can be identified by location (typically along tendons/joints on wrists/hands or ankles/feet), shape and size (round/oval less than an inch), and they are typically painless. Causes for these cysts are unknown, and while they are not cancerous, they can press on nerves causing pain and interfering with function.
These cysts are most common between the ages of 15 and 40 years old, with women being more likely to be affected than men. The cysts are common among gymnasts as they repeatedly apply pressure on those areas.
Both surgical and non-surgical treatment options are available. Non-surgical options include:
Observation: simply reducing stress on the area until the cyst disappears in time.
Immobilization: similar to observation but instead forcibly reduces or eliminates stress on the area by using a brace or splint.
Aspiration: draining fluid from the area if it becomes increasingly painful.
Surgical options will be used if the cysts persevere through the non-surgical treatment. Surgery is simple; the surgeon cuts out the ganglion causing the cysts. Patients can expect to return to normal activities within 2 to 6 weeks.